County council admits to buying out ‘bomb man’

The Sörmland County Council in central Sweden "accidentally" hired a convicted criminal who had served a long prison sentence for attempted blackmail and sabotage. The 47-year-old man had threatened to blow up oil storage tanks in the Södertälje harbour in 2005, an incident which received national attention.

County council admits to buying out 'bomb man'

However, the county council was not aware of the man’s background when hiring him with the help of a recruitment company, reported local newspaper Eskilstuna-Kuriren (EK).

The man was eventually fired after several county council managers complained about threatening behaviour. In February, he received 1 million kronor ($150,000) in severance pay, which corresponded to two annual wages.

Formally, the man was dismissed because of cooperation difficulties and complaints from other staff members, but a mail correspondence seen by EK showed that several managers had been threatened by the 47-year-old, who was responsible for administering the county council’s properties.

The county council’s chief of staff Solveig Lampe confirmed EK’s reports.

“As employers we wanted to terminate the man’s employment as soon as possible,” Lampe said in a statement published on the county council’s homepage.

It was during the severance pay negotiations that the county council realized who the 47-year-old man was.

In 2005, the man, who comes from an aristocratic family, placed bombs in the Södertälje harbour in central Sweden. He threatened to trigger them unless the Stockholm Regional Council (Länsstyrelsen) paid him 12 million euro ($15 million).

Two years earlier, he had tried to blackmail the pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca, claiming he had poisoned several of its products and threatening to reveal this to the public unless Astra Zeneca agreed to give him 7 million euro.

Lampe said the county council considered the legal and security implications of the case before deciding to terminate man’s employment through a financial settlement.

“We chose not to take the case to the labour court because it would have been a longer and more expensive process,” said Lampe.

In connection with the settlement the man acted in a way which led to a police report being made against him,” Lampe added.

The county council said it will introduce stricter routines to check applicants’ backgrounds against the criminal records registry, but added: “At the same time a person who is convicted of a crime and has served his or her sentence should have the opportunity to re-enter the labour market.”

TT/The Local/nr

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Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority

Two Swedish citizens are suspected in connection with last week’s explosion at the Danish Tax Agency. One of the two is in police custody.

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority
Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov addresses the press. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov confirmed the arrests to press on Wednesday morning.

“Both individuals are suspected of carrying out the detonation at the Tax Agency,” Skov said.

One man, aged 22, was arrested in Swedish city Malmö on Tuesday and will be extradited to Denmark. Once he reaches Copenhagen he will appear for preliminary court proceedings, which the prosecution will request take place behind closed doors.

Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten reports the 22-year-old has no previous criminal convictions in the country.

The second man, a 23-year-old, is yet to be detained but an international arrest warrant for him has been issued, Skov said.

“During the night, we also searched several addresses in Sweden. We hereby confiscated what we believe to be a car used by the suspects,” he said.

“We have one suspect on the loose, which means we must be careful about what we say, out of consideration for the investigation,” he added.

The superintendent did not add any detail about how police were able to connect the two individuals to the August 6th explosion.

Skov also stressed that police do not believe the tax authority blast to be connected to a similar incident at a police station in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday.

“There is nothing to suggest (a connection),” he said.