Wanted berry trader arrested in Thailand

Ari Hallikainen, the Swede who left 149 Thai berry pickers stranded after emptying his firm Lomsjö Bär of cash and fleeing the country, has been arrested in Thailand.

Wanted berry trader arrested in Thailand

According to the Bangkok Post, Thai police recently received information from locals that the 52-year-old Hallikainen was living in a house in the Muang district of Chon Buri, a province in east Thailand.

Hallikainen disappeared from Sweden in the autumn of 2010, just before his berry company went bust.

The 159 Thai workers he employed did not receive their wages and were stranded in Sweden for months while waiting to receive state wage guarantee payouts.

Hallikanen had a series of bankruptcies behind him and in 2007 faced charges of assault involving berry pickers in Hälsingland.

His firm, Lomsjö Bär, was also involved in a highly publicized fight in Särna in the summer of 2010 involving Vietnamese berry pickers. The argument led to the arrest of several berry pickers after they locked in their supervisors.

The Thai chief of police said that it was hard to track Hallikainen down since he regularly switched hiding places, reported local Swedish newspaper Västerbottenskuriren (VK).

Hallikainen was present at a press conference in Thailand this week and several local Thai news outlets reported on his arrest.

He had been detained in absentia for several months.

According to Bangkok Post, Hallikainen has confessed and some Thais were also involved in the Lomsjö Bär scam.

Thai police plan to track down other gang members and Hallikainen will be sent to the Thai Immigration Bureau for further legal proceedings.

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Swedish politician jailed for fraud

Former Moderate Party politician Annétthe Zettergren, 58, was jailed for 3.5 years on Thursday and ordered to pay damages totalling 3.9 million ($605,000) to the county of Värmland and a further 350,000 kronor to her former partner.

Swedish politician jailed for fraud

Zettergren was charged with two counts of serious fraud in July following her arrest in Thailand in March.

The first charge related to a period spent serving on the Värmland County Council. Zettergren also ran a physical therapy clinic that investigators believe she used to send fraudulent invoices to the county council to the tune of 4.5 million kronor.

RELATED STORIES: Read all about the Annétthe Zettergren fraud case

The second charge related to the theft of funds from her partner’s bank account before she disappeared, fleeing to Thailand in September 2012.

The scandal emerged after a report in the local Nya Wermlands-Tidningen that revealed that Zettergren was the highest paid physical therapist in the county.

The report led to a county council investigation and in June 2012 Zettergren left all of her positions of responsibility within the county. During her long service she has served on the Värmland County Council, the board of a regional development body and the local police board.

The county council reported the matter to the police on August 22nd and Zettergren disappeared a month later. A warrant for her arrest was issued shortly after.

After almost six months on the run, Swedish police were able to track her down and Thai police were able to catch up with her and make an arrest in the resort of Pattaya in March 2013. After a week in a Thai prison, Zettergren was deported back to Sweden.

Zettergren’s nephew, also detained in Thailand in March, was convicted on Thursday on charges of handling stolen money and sentenced to probation and community service.

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