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RED CROSS

Ex-Red Cross boss faces new suspicions

Johan af Donner, former head of communications of Swedish Red Cross (Röda Korset), was remanded in custody yesterday on charges of embezzlement and/or gross fraud.

Previously, af Donner was thought to have swindled his former employer out of more than 2.5 million kronor ($320,000) between 2004 and 2009, but he is now also suspected of having committed similar crimes during 2000-2002 as head of donations for the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden).

The Cancer Society is currently conducting an internal investigation into af Donner’s time there.

“We don’t have any suspicions he embezzled money here, but when we found out that he had taken money from the Red Cross we immediately launched an internal investigation to see if he had committed any crimes here,” said Rebecka Blomberg, Cancer Society spokesperson.

Af Donner’s lawyer Leif Silbersky declined to comment on the remand decision, but opposed it.

Af Donner will remain in custody for two weeks, until July 10. The remand was ordered because the court found that he might hinder the investigation.

On Wednesday, the district court decided to freeze af Donner’s assets to allow the Swedish enforcement authority (Kronofogden) to secure property worth 2.4 million kronor on behalf of the Red Cross.

Last week, it also came to light that af Donner had reportedly built his career on university transcripts he falsified the early 1980s.

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RED CROSS

WyWallet cancels mobile payment policy

It has become easier to make SMS payments and charity donations in Sweden as WyWallet has decided to scrap its maligned registration policy introduced in February.

WyWallet cancels mobile payment policy

Swedish charities and NGOs suffered a downturn in SMS donations after Sweden’s four main mobile network operators – Telia, Tele2, Tre and Telenor – introduced mandatory online registrations for mobile phone money transfers on February 1st.

With the new rules, mobile operators required their customers to register online, including the submission of sensitive personal information, in order to greenlight a money transfer via text message.

“When the new SMS-rules were introduced we lost 92 per cent of our SMS-donations. Now we can hopefully get some of that back,” Swedish Red Cross wrote on Twitter.

The organization published its figures at the end of February, comparing SMS donations to February 2012, and warned the drop could have humanitarian consequences.

Swedish Unicef and Doctors Without Borders also saw a sharp reduction in donations.

Charities blamed the mobile operators’ new money transfer system, WyWallet, which required potential donors to fill in their personal identification number (personnummer) and credit card details.

In addition to being cumbersome, the registration process also raised privacy concerns among the public, despite reassurances by WyWallet that it does not share any personal information with third parties.

At the time,WyWallet’s head of marketing, Adam Hasslert, told news agency TT that the payment services law requires that a client be identified before a transaction is made.

The law came into force after an EU directive was introduced to counteract money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

However, TT noted that the law does not require all mobile payments to be subject to client registration.

WyWallet received sharp criticism from companies, too, with traders noting a negative effect on sales.

The biggest user of SMS payments, Stockholm Public Transport (Storstockholms Lokaltrafik), also reacted negatively to WyWallet.

In 2012, Stockholm commuters bought 11.1 million SMS tickets, corresponding to six per cent of ticket sales.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

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