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'Swedish women fake rape to claim payouts'

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15:34 CEST+02:00
A Swedish woman accused of trumping up rape accusations while on holiday in Greece exemplifies a persistant view in the Mediterranean country that Swedish women bring false rape complaints to get payouts from special 'rape insurance'.

In 2008, Swedish ‘Anna' went on holiday to the Greek island of Samos. On her last night she claimed to have been brutally raped and beaten, according to Sweden's TV4.

After reporting the crime to authorities in Greece, she then went back to Sweden the day after the assault as planned.

Back in Sweden, she underwent a medical examination, after which the Swedish doctor found evidence corroborating her story.

Despite the findings of the Swedish medical team being forwarded to Greece, Anna learned in 2009 that the prosecutor on Samos would not pursue the case any further.

One of the reasons given for the case having been dropped was that it had become common for holidaying women, especially Scandinavians, to say that they had been raped during their stay in Greece to claim insurance money upon their return.

Anna resigned to trying to move on with her life.

But she was later contacted by a Greek public prosecution office, which informed her that she was being countersued for making false rape accusation and libel.

"I get this summons to appear in court. They're suing me for libelling this man," she told TV 4.

When Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) contacted a number of insurance companies in Sweden they found that there is no such thing as ‘rape insurance'.

Those that have been raped during holiday can claim recompense under a special clause in their home insurance, however.

But according to Daniel Claesson, head of information at Swedish insurance company If, they see very few cases like that.

“We see maybe one or two a year. And we haven't noticed any increases over the last few years either,” he said to SvD.

At the Swedish embassy in Athens, they have heard the rumours about Swedish ‘rape insurance' before.

A local paper in Crete, Xaniotika Nea, recently published an article with the headline ‘Rape as an industry to reap benefits'.

“The article may have kicked off a debate leading to this notion,” Kristina de Cornejo of the embassy told SvD.

In the article Stamatis Belivanis, a medical examiner, is quoted saying that it is common for Scandinavian tourists to take out a special insurance against rape in their home countries and later claim money when returning home from holiday.

“They come here on vacation and then a day or so before leaving, after having sexual relations with someone, they report a rape. Back home they try to claim on the insurance,” he said in the Greek paper.

“This is in no way a new phenomenon, it has just been intensified since the economic crisis hit the countries in question,” he was quoted saying.

The Nordic embassies in Greece took offence to the article and the doctor was made to apologise for the statements he had made. However, he added that they were only a reflection of the public opinion in the area.

Anna has been summoned to appear in court in May but she is not planning to attend.

“Not a chance,” she said to TV4.

“We don't think she is at risk of being extradited, but you never know. The ball is now in the Greek court,” Gunilla von Wachtenfeldt, Anna's victim representative, said to SvD.

Attempts by The Local to get comment on the matter from Greek organisations in Sweden were unsuccessful.

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