Fraud suspect politician in Swedish custody

Fraud suspect politician in Swedish custody
A politician suspected of defrauding taxpayers in central Sweden of millions of kronor ended six months on the run after landing in Stockholm on Friday following her arrest in Thailand last week.

Annétthe Zettergren, 58, was handed over to Swedish police on Thursday afternoon at Bangkok airport and arrived at Stockholm Arlanda Airport shortly before 6am on Friday, according to a report in the Aftonbladet daily.

She was escorted from the plane and taken away in a police vehicle, the newspaper reported.

Zettergren is now set to face a remand hearing on suspicions of aggravated fraud relating to a period spent serving on the Värmland County Council, the board of a regional development body and the local police board.

The Moderate Party politician also 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 and Thai police finally caught up with her last Friday.

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.

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