Red Cross fraudster faked his academic records: report

Charlotte West
Charlotte West - [email protected]
Red Cross fraudster faked his academic records: report
Photo:, Joonasl

The man suspected of defrauding the Swedish Red Cross (Röda Korset) of 2.7 million kronor ($336,000) to help fund a life of luxury reportedly built his career on falsified university transcripts.


Johan af Donner, who spent Midsummer in jail after being remanded into custody last Thursday on suspicions of fraud, claimed on his CV he had received a bachelor's degree (fil.kand) from Stockholm University in 1980.

While officials at the university confirm that af Donner was enrolled in business administration classes in the late 1970s, no degree was ever conferred, the news website reports.

A source told about evidence that af Donner himself had fashioned a fake transcript from one belonging to a friend.

Copies of both transcripts were found in a file left behind when af Donner had been fired from a previous job at the MK advertising agency.

“Johan had pasted in his name and personal identity number, copied it, and used Tipp-Ex repeatedly,” the source told the news website.

According to Realtid, af Donner was fired from MK for being unable to bill a client 750,000 kronor.

A subsequent investigation by MK revealed he had 1.2 million kronor worth of unbilled work for MK.

And while af Donner appeared to be living a charmed life, complete with a luxury apartment in the upscale Stockholm neighbourhood of Östermalm, sports cars, and an expensive boarding school for his 17-year-old son, both he and his wife were being sought by the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden) for tax debts, unpaid student loans, and delinquent road tolls, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

His Red Cross colleagues, however, who said af Donner was well-liked and respected, were unaware of his personal troubles.

Although he had mentioned having to sell his apartment, his co-workers only became suspicious about his financial problems after several mysterious invoices appeared at the Red Cross.

Af Donner was fired from the organization at the end of May after it was revealed he’d been involved in a false-billing scam.

“If all this is true, he must have had a double personality. I spoke with him before he was arrested and at the time he was really sad about having to leave. He made it sound like it was over something administrative,” a friend and former colleague told Aftonbladet.

Following af Donner’s arrest and subsequent detention, another former employer, the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden) has also launched an investigation into whether or not he had committed fraud during his time at the organization from 1997 to 2004.

So far, no evidence of wrongdoing has come to light.

“Right now we have no suspicions against Johan af Donner,” said Cancer Society spokesperson Rebecka Blomberg to


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