Säpo avoids fine for James Bond party

The Swedish Security Service Säpo has narrowly avoided inspection by the Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) after splashing out 5.3 million kronor ($802,500) on a James Bond-themed party.

Säpo avoids fine for James Bond party

The fancy party took place in June 2011 and had a guest list of around 1,000 people. In contravention of the law, the contract for the event was never put out to tender.

The publication Riksdag & Departement announced on its website that the Competion Authority has decided not to pursue an investigation into the James Bond party.

As a reason they cited the fact that they were notified about the events too late. The grace period to apply for a fine for unlawful tender ran out in the summer of 2012. Details of the costly party only emerged in the end of August 2012 when the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN) broke the story.

At the secret party, intelligence staff enjoyed a gala dinner and gambled with fake money in a casino. There were treated to performances by dance troupes, comedians and a big band which is also the Nobel party house band.

Several well-known Swedish artists and media figures entertained the guests at the party which was planned under the code name “Project Åland”, after the Baltic Sea island.

The decoration alone cost 400,000 kronor.

The head of Säpo Anders Thornberg told DN that the party was a perk for staff members who were under pressure after a particularly stressful year. They had dealt with terror threats, a suicide bombing and a company reorganization.

The party was organized by former Säpo head Anders Danielsson, who is now the Director General of the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

It was expected that Säpo would face inspection and a potential court order to pay a fine for failing to put the party contract out to tender.

The Competition Authority insisted that the decision to write off the case was not about taking sides.

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Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police

The chief executive of a largely Muslim free school in Gothenburg has been placed in custody by the Swedish Migration Agency on the orders of the country's Säpo security police. It follows the arrests of other Imams in recent months.

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police
He was seized on Wednesday and taken to an immigration detention centre in the city, Sweden's Expressen newspaper reported on Thursday
Abdel-Nasser el Nadi, chief executive of Vetenskapsskolan, is the fifth senior member of Sweden's Muslim community to be placed in custody in less than a month. 
Three prominent imams are now in custody: Abo Raad, imam of a mosque in Gävle, Hussein Al-Jibury, imam of a mosque in Umeå, and Fekri Hamad, imam of a mosque in Västerås. Raad's son is also being held. 
Sven-Erik Berg, the school's headmaster, told The Local that he had no idea what was behind the arrest. 
“We don't know anything. I don't know anything more than you,” he said. “We are doing nothing, but the school is naturally maintaining a dialogue with the Swedish School Inspectorate and their lawyers.” 
He said it was inaccurate to describe the school as a 'Muslim school' as it has no official confessional status. 
“The chief executive is a central person among Swedish Muslims, so naturally the group of people we recruit from are often those who have a relation to Islam or Sweden's Islamic associations,” he said. “But the school does not go around telling children what they should or shouldn't believe.”
On its website the school declares: “At our school everyone is treated equally irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic background, appearance, opinions, or abilities”. 
“We are one of the best schools in Gothenburg. You just have to look at the statistics,” Berg added.  
A spokesman for Säpo told Expressen that he could not comment on any of the five cases or on whether they were in some way linked. 
But according to the Swedish news site Doku, which investigates Islamic extremists, Säpo is probing whether el Nadi has any links to a network of Islamic militants.
In an article published last October, the site alleged that El Nadi's activism was part of the reason that so many young men from Gothenburg had travelled to fight for the terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. 
El-Nadi was previously the school's headmaster, and the school was in 2018 criticised by the Swedish School Inspectorate for not sufficiently promoting equality between girls and boys.
When he was interviewed by Dagens Nyheter a year ago, he asserted his loyalty to Sweden. 
“I have five children, all of whom were born in Sweden, a big family, and I want to protect this society in the same way that I have protected my children,” he said.  
El-Nadi was born in Egypt but has lived in Sweden since 1992. He has twice applied to become a Swedish citizen, in 2007 and 2011, and twice been rejected.