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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