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Norwegian man jailed for kidnapping rich Swedes

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08:12 CEST+02:00
A 45-year-old Norwegian man on trial for kidnapping, robbing and extorting several million kronor from wealthy Swedes was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday.

Philip Holst-Cappelen was the leader of a gang that targeted well-to-do Swedes, including a 47-year-old millionaire in Gothenburg and a similarly aged banker in Stockholm in 2010.

Both kidnappings were carried out in a similar fashion, with Holst-Cappelen and his associates attacking their victims in their homes before putting them in handcuffs and leg chains and covering their mouths with duct tape.

The victims were then forced by threat of violence to transfer more than 15 million kronor ($2.4 million) to Holst-Cappelen's bank account.

Prosecutor Ulrika Lindsö, who had argued for an 18-year prison sentence, said the long sentence was justified.

"The crime that the complainants have been subjected to is unique in its character. They have suffered extreme hardship and distress," she told the TT news agency.

The Gothenburg businessman lay bound in his apartment from March 31st through April 6th, 2010.

Because the force used against him was so extreme, the crime was classified as aggravated robbery rather than extortion, the Stockholm District Court wrote in its ruling.

The Stockholm banker was also brutally attacked and tied up. Holst-Cappelen then told the man his "daughter was in danger if he screamed".

The ruling comes despite the fact that Holst-Cappelen didn't give his version of events. He has refused to answer questions through the entirety of the legal proceedings.

Thus, he has neither denied nor admitted to the crimes.

The evidence, however, leaves "no room for doubt", wrote the court.

Holst-Cappelen was convicted following detailed accounts and clear identification by both of the victims. In addition, investigators found both DNA and fingerprints from Holst-Cappelen in the apartments where the attacks took place.

There is also documentation showing how the money was transferred.

"We had very solid evidence," said prosecutor Lindsö.

Holst-Cappelen's attorney, Per Larsson, refused to comment on the ruling.

Holst-Cappelen was convicted on two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery, and two counts of obstruction of justice and making illegal threats.

After he serves his sentence, he is to be expelled from Sweden for life.

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