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CRIME

Ex-partner of missing woman released

The former partner of a woman who went missing in western Sweden last month was released from police custody on Friday, but remains suspected of her murder.

Ex-partner of missing woman released

The 37-year-old man is suspected of murdering 31-year-old Marina Johansson, who disappeared from her home in Stenungsund, about 50 kilometres north of Gothenburg, on 27th or 28th July. No body has been found.

“In some respects, suspicions against the 37-year-old have been strengthened. If we had found a body the level of proof would have been stronger than at present,” said prosecutor Niklas Sannerholm in Uddevalla.

The order to release the man was given at lunchtime on Friday, after which he was released immediately. He had been held for one week on suspicion of murder. He was classified as ‘suspected for good reason’, the lower level of suspicion in the Swedish system. Suspects held on this level of suspicion cannot by law be held for longer than a week, so more evidence would have been needed to keep the man in custody.

The suspects has denied all allegations levelled against him. His lawyer, Michael Hansson, would not reveal what he had told police.

“It is not easy for him to go around with these allegations hanging over him, even if he has been released. The only thing we are saying at present is that he denies all the allegations.”

Police say they are certain that Marina Johansson has been murdered. They have been searching for her body all week, focusing on the area around her home in a settlement close to Stenungsund. Niklas Sannerholm would not comment on whether he suspected the man of hiding Johansson’s body:

“The fact that he has been released is a complicating factor for the investigation. But we are continuing to search for [Marina Johansson] on a number of fronts. What we have found to date is not something that I will comment on,” he said.

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CRIME

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

Birgitte Bonnesen, a former CEO of Swedish bank Swedbank, has been acquitted of charges of fraud and sharing insider information.

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

The ruling from the Stockholm District Court comes four years after the eruption of a money laundering scandal implicating the bank.

In 2019, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT alleged that at least 40 billion kronor (equivalent at the time to $4.4 billion) of suspicious and high-risk transactions had been channelled to Baltic countries, notably Estonia, from Swedbank accounts.

The revelations, which saw the bank’s share price crumble, rendered Bonnesen’s position untenable and she was fired.

Sweden’s financial regulator the following year fined the bank some 360 million euros and warned it to follow anti-money laundering laws.

Prosecutors later charged Bonnesen, accusing her of “intentionally or by aggravated negligence” providing false or misleading information about the steps the bank had taken to prevent and detect suspected money laundering.

Bonnesen, who risked two years in prison, denied all of the charges against her.

The court said that while some of the statements the former CEO made to media outlets had been “unclear and incomplete”, they did not amount to fraud.

“For criminal liability, it is not enough for someone to make a false statement or omit key information,” judge Malou Lindblom said, adding that any statement needed to be sufficient to influence recipients “in a certain direction”.

Bonnesen was also cleared of charges of revealing insider information by informing the bank’s main owners that the investigative documentary was coming.

The court said the former CEO had only revealed what she believed the documentary would cover, which was deemed too “imprecise” to be considered insider information.

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