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THAILAND

Thai police nab Swedish fraud suspect politician

A politician suspected of defrauding taxpayers in central Sweden of millions of kronor has been arrested in Thailand after being on the run since last autumn.

Annétthe Zettergren, 58, served on the Värmland County Council, as well as on the board of a regional development body, and the local police board.

In addition, the Moderate Party politician ran a physical therapy clinic that investigators believe she used to send fraudulent invoices to the Värmland County Council, to the tune of 4.5 million kronor ($695,000).

The fraud suspicions surfaced last August following an investigation by the local Värmlands Folkblad newspaper, at which point Zettergren stepped down from the County Council.

A few weeks after being reported to police, she disappeared, but not before apparently withdrawing nearly 1 million kronor from her boyfriend’s bank account.

A warrant was issued for her arrest shortly thereafter.

Swedish media reports from the time suggested that she had taken refuge in Thailand in an attempt to avoid Swedish law enforcement. On Friday, she was arrested there by local police.

“Interpol has confirmed her arrest in Thailand, but did not give a specific location. We should have more information by the end of the day,” Värmland County police detective Anders Forsman told the TT news agency.

Swedish police now hope that Zettergren will be back in Sweden by the end of next week to face a remand hearing on suspicions of aggravated fraud.

According to the Aftonbladet newspaper, Zettergren likely overstated the number of patients at her clinic, allowing her to bill the health authorities in excess. About 200 patients have been interviewed so far in the police investigation.

Thai police have also arrested a 43-year-old relative of Zettergren, believed to have set up a bank account for her. The man is also suspected of overstaying his visa in Thailand.

TT/The Local/dl

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FRAUD

‘Discount’ phone scammers steal thousands from elderly woman in Sweden

A 75-year-old woman in the Håbo municipality lost over 120,000 kronor (11,200 euros) on Friday after falling victim to a telephone scam.

'Discount' phone scammers steal thousands from elderly woman in Sweden
File photo: Anders Wiklund/ TT

The woman received a phone around lunchtime on Friday from a man who claimed he was calling from a telecommunications operator.

Following a method similar to others seen in telephone scams which target the elderly, the man is reported to have informed the woman that she had unused discounts and was required to log on to her online banking in order to activate them.

“He must have been persuasive, given that he convinced her to log on to her online bank,” Uppsala Police press spokesperson Linda Wideberg told Radio P4 Uppland, who reported the scam.

The incident is now being investigated as fraud, police said.

Other recent scams in Sweden have seen fake emails and text messages which purport to be from the Skatteverket tax authority. 

“Skatteverket will never ask for your account details via email or text message,” the tax agency said in a statement in June this year.

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