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'Jail Red Cross fraudster for 5 years': Prosecutor

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'Jail Red Cross fraudster for 5 years': Prosecutor
12:00 CEST+02:00
The prosecutor in the trial of Johan af Donner called on Wednesday for the former Red Cross communications chief to be imprisoned for five years for swindling both the Red Cross and the Swedish Cancer Society out of millions of kronor.

On the last day of the trial, prosecutor Alf Johansson recommended that the accused be held in custody while he awaits sentencing.

"I am of the opinion that he should be kept in custody in light of my plea for a long prison sentence and the fact that he does not have an income. With this in mind, there is a risk he could flee," Johansson told news agency TT.

Af Donner's lawyer Leif Silbersky, called on the court to display leniency when considering an appropriate punishment for his client.

"There is a long list of mitigating circumstances. He has confessed to his crimes, he wants to do the right thing, and he has shown remorse and contriteness."

Silbersky said he considered it absurd that the prosecutor had called for af Donner to be immediately placed in custody.

Af Donner was tried with two alleged accomplices, who denied many of the charges against them. Johansson has recommended jail terms for the men of 18 and 30 months respectively.

The former Red Cross communications director faced charges in the week-long trial of aggravated fraud and aggravated bribery and his accomplices are charged with aggravated bribery, aggravated accounting fraud and aggravated fiscal fraud. Af Donner confessed to fraud but denied the bribery charge.

The Red Cross has said that the fraud amounted to 7.7 million kronor ($1.1 million). The suspects were accused of stealing 5.2 million kronor from the Red Cross between 2004 and 2009, and 2.5 million kronor from the Swedish Cancer Society, where af Donner had previously worked between 2000 and 2003.

Af Donner, who worked for the Red Cross until the middle of last year, was accused of making up fake invoices with the help of his unidentified accomplices, who worked for suppliers.

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