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Top Swedish execs hire bodyguards over threats

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Top Swedish execs hire bodyguards over threats
Bodyguard with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at press conference, Sept. 2008
16:05 CET+01:00
An increasing number of Sweden's top business executives are hiring bodyguards as the threat and risk of robbery and extortion grows in the country.

Gothia Protection Group is one of the seven companies that provides bodyguard protection in Sweden and is currently employed by about 20 corporate heads, Dagens Nyheter (DN) reported on Friday.

"The realisation for stronger security measures comes as major Swedish companies' boards become more internationalised," Stellan Kjellberg, operations manager at Gothia Protection, explained to newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Friday.

"The American and English members who are elected bring their experiences from their countries," he added.

The heightened security fears come on the heels of a Norwegian impostor and fraudster stealing 15.6 million ($2.33 million) from two Swedish millionaires last year.

Philip Holst-Cappelen remains at large after stalking, then threatening and stealing millions of kronor from two Swedish millionaires in Gothenburg and Stockholm, Aftonbladet reported on Tuesday.

On Monday, three of his accomplices were charged at Stockholm district court for aggravated robbery, kidnapping and receiving stolen funds and property. One accomplice has confessed to parts of the crimes but claims to have been cheated by Holst-Cappelen, while the others deny the charges.

Holst-Cappelen, 45, is on an international wanted list and most of the funds remain missing.

Holst-Cappelen and a 32-year-old male accomplice from Indonesia lived in an apartment that shared an entrance with a 47-year-old millionaire's home in Gothenburg, Aftonbladet reported on Tuesday. From there, they tracked his movements for several months.

Another accomplice accompanied Holst-Cappelen into the apartment in March 2010. They overpowered the millionaire and threatened to cut off his fingers unless if he emptied his accounts to them.

The millionaire was trapped in his apartment for six days until he transferred more than 3.6 million kronor in his savings and shares to an account that was later withdrawn by the accomplices.

The man did not report the incident to police because the assailants had also threatened to kill his mother, the report said.

Several months later, the gang struck again, kidnapping another millionaire in his apartment on Stockholm's exclusive Strandvägen for three days. They made threats against him and his daughter until he transferred 12 million kronor to the kidnappers, Aftonbladet reported.

Holst-Cappelen is alleged to have targeted six high-earning Swedes as potential victims, including a Carnegie trustee and a Wallenberg director, by scrutinising salary lists and and information about family members, the report said.

Gothia Protection is unique in that it focusses on personal protection for its customers, DN reported.

The kidnapping of electronics chain Siba's CEO Fabian Bengtsson in early 2005 led to an increase in the demand for personal protection rose sharply, the report said.

After the beleaguered former CEO of Vattenfall, Lars G. Josefsson, was attacked by paint bombs by environmental activists last year, several large banks boosted their security measures.

Separately, outgoing Swedish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen i Sverige, LO) president Wanja Lundby-Wedin employed bodyguards during the height of the AMF scandal in 2009, the report said.

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