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Ex-police chief remanded in sex ring probe

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Ex-police chief remanded in sex ring probe
Göran Lindberg (left) in court on Thursday with his lawyer Karl Harling.
15:57 CET+01:00
A former police chief suspected of rape in an expanding sex ring investigation was remanded in custody on Thursday, despite his claims of innocence. A number of other well-known men are also said to be under investigation.

Göran Lindberg, a respected law enforcement official who recently retired after a career spanning more than 20 years, came to his hearing at the Södertörn District Court without covering his face.

He appeared calm during the proceedings as the prosecutor requested that Lindberg be remanded on suspicion of raping a woman in the Stockholm suburb of Bandhagen on January 8th of last year, and on suspicions of having attempted to rape and plotted to rape children in Solna, Stockholm and Falun in the first month of 2010.

The prosecutor also asked the court to impose extra restrictions on those involved in the case, including a gag order.

Lindberg denied he had committed any crime and through his lawyer protested the remand order and restrictions.

“My client is very dissatisfied and it's terribly difficult to be remanded during these proceedings facing such serious charges,” Lindberg's lawyer Karl Harling told TT.

The investigation into the ex-police chief's offences is expected to grow to include more men suspected of using young women for sexual purposes.

Lindberg's name came up unexpectedly in connection with the investigation of a suspicious death in the suburb of Bredäng, south of Stockholm.

In July of last year, a 60-year-old man mysteriously fell to his death from a balcony and police launched a preliminary investigation into the suspected murder.

According to the Expressen newspaper, the man was a multi-millionaire suspected of having arranged meetings for men with prostitutes.

The 60-year-old man had been lured to the apartment by a 39-year-old man and two women who intended to question the man about why he had sexually exploited the younger of the two women.

During the investigation, police confiscated a computer and a mobile phone which belonged to the deceased 60-year-old.

When investigators examined the contents of the machines and found the names of several men, they realized they had stumbled upon a new sex ring and handed the matter over to the Stockholm County police force.

However, it wasn't Lindberg's name that first caused a stir among the investigators, but the names of several other men.

“There were names of several well-positioned and well-known late-middle aged men,” a source told the TT news agency.

While further investigating the new information, suspicions came to light that the ex-police chief was part of a secret sex network.

County police officials then put Lindberg under surveillance, which led to his arrest in Falun in central Sweden on Monday.

He is suspected of having traveled to the city in order to meet an under-aged girl.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask told TT that she couldn't believe it was true when she first heard about the suspicions against Lindberg.

“It's obviously devastating and distressing when people who have been afforded great confidence within the judicial system are suspected of these types of serious crimes,” she said.

“There is also a great deal of shock about this within the police corps. Without the intensive and thorough surveillance work which took place in this case, this never would have been discovered.

"It shows that the police are extremely engaged in working against these types of crimes and that they don't waver simply because it involves someone who has worked in the justice system, and that's important,” said Ask.

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