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Södertälje 'top-tier mobster' leaves custody

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Södertälje 'top-tier mobster' leaves custody
17:40 CEST+02:00
A 40-year-old man jailed for twelve years for accessory to murder has left custody, after a lay judge with conflicting interests scuppered the first installment of the biggest mafia trial in Swedish history.

The man was given the harshest punishment of the suspects in the prosecution of the Södertälje Network, which terrorized part of the central Swedish town in the late 2000s.

Seventeen other people were convicted last year, in a case considered to be one of Sweden's largest and most expensive criminal investigations and trials ever, costing around 200 million kronor ($30 million), according to estimates by Sveriges Radio (SR).

In October 2012, the justice system decided the entire case had to go to retrial. According to a statement issued by the appeals court, one of the district court's lay judges was also a representative on the Södertälje police board at the time of the trial and as a result was considered to run the risk of bias.

Around noon on Monday, the 40-year-old left custody. He has been locked up since September 2011. According to his defence lawyer, Ola Salomonsson, the prosecutor consider his client to be in the top tier of the mafia structure.

Salomonsson predicted that the decision to set him free meant that he was no longer suspected as an accessory to murder.

"My conclusion is that this means he will probably be cleared of the double murder," Salomonsson told the TT news agency. He has long argued that the prosecutor's case against his client was based on circumstantial evidence.

"You can't let someone walk if they are suspected to have played a part in murder."

Chief prosecutor Tora Holst refused to comment on whether any more of the original suspects in the organized crime case would be set free.

"I cannot comment at this time," she told TT.

TT/The Local/at

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