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Swedish politician charged with fraud

A former local politician suspected of having stolen millions of kronor of taxpayers' money in central Sweden has been charged with aggravated fraud following her arrest in Thailand in March.

Swedish politician charged with fraud

“I expect a conviction in the case,” prosecutor Barbro Brännlund told journalists on

Wednesday.

Former Moderate Party politician Annétthe Zettergren, 58, has been charged with two counts of aggravated fraud. Zettergren has maintained her innocence in the case but admitted on Tuesday to some erroneous invoices, Brännlund said.

The first charge relates 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 ($695,000).

The second charge relates to the allegation that she stole up to a million kronor from her partner’s bank account before disappearing and fleeing to Thailand in September 2012.

The preliminary investigation runs to 3,800 pages and includes interviews with some 200 people, many of whom are claimed to have been patients.

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 on June 29th 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 on March 22nd 2013. After a week in a Thai prison, Zettergren was deported back to Sweden.

Zettergren’s nephew, also detained in Thailand in March, was charged on Wednesday on suspicion of handling stolen money.

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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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