Swede wanted in bribery case arrested in LA

Police in Los Angeles have arrested a Swedish businessman wanted on charges of attempting to bribe a Stockholm police chief.

Authorities took Björn Höglund into custody following a raid on the home of Swedish actress Anna-Karin Eskilsson, who plays the lead in an upcoming biopic about Greta Garbo, according to the Realtid.se news website.

When police discovered Höglund hiding in Eskilsson’s apartment, the businessman first tried to elude capture by escaping in a car, leading police on a wild car chase through the streets of Hollywood before they finally arrested him on Friday afternoon.

Höglund’s arrest means the long-delayed bribery trial against Tage Åström, the disgraced former head of the Stockholm police department’s organized crime division, is one step closer to continuing.

Åström was arrested in 2007 on suspicions he was cooperating with members of the so-called Poker Gang, a group of crooked businessmen suspected of laundering money earned from online gaming sites.

He was formally charged in January 2008 for accepting bribes from Höglund and his associate Peter Johansson in exchange for promises to provide them body guards and information from secret police files.

Höglund and Johansson were also charged in the case, but when the trial was set to start in May 2008, Höglund had gone underground, delaying the proceedings.

Swedish authorities had recently stepped up efforts to bring Höglund to trial as the statute of limitations on portions of the indictment is set to expire in January 2010.

On Sunday, the actress Eskilsson was tightlipped about her role in the dramatic arrest of one of Sweden’s most-wanted white-collar criminals.

“I have no comment,” she told Realtid.se.

According to a Swedish police source, US law enforcement officers were acting on a visa infraction when they arrested Höglund.

“He was formally arrested for violating the terms of his visa,” the source told the TT news agency.

As Höglund is an internationally wanted man, he will likely be extradited to Sweden.

“According to the documents we received, they are simply planning on sending him home,” said the police source.

Höglund’s attorney Henrik Jacobsson told the news site that he had spoken with his client in recent months, but wasn’t sure of his exact whereabouts prior to the arrest.

“I have no idea when he may turn up in Sweden,” he said.

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