Man detained in Sweden over poison plot

A man has been remanded in custody in Sweden on the suspicion of stealing poisonous substances from Uppsala University. The poisons were allegedly then used to try and blackmail the Czech state into paying large sums of money in bitcoin.

Man detained in Sweden over poison plot
Uppsala University. Photo: David Naylor/Uppsala universitet

“He has stolen different kinds of poison, including ricin, and some other objects including syringes and needles,” prosecutor Henrik Söderman told news agency TT.

“We came to the conclusion that they could only have come from his place of employment,” he added.

The man was remanded on Wednesday, on the suspicion of 12 aggravated thefts. The alleged thefts took place between September 2013 and April 2016.

Wednesday’s events follow the initial arrest of the same man in April on suspicion of selling poison through the internet to a group that blackmailed a Czech minister for large sums of money.

“There was an attempt to blackmail the Czech state. There was a threat to spread different kinds of poison among the general public in the country if the state did not pay out quite a lot of money in bitcoin to the blackmailers. This man’s participation is that he is alleged to have supplied the poison,” prosecutor Söderman explained.

The man is also accused of assisting attempted extortion, as well as violation of Sweden's Military Equipment Act, which ricin falls under. The alleged crimes are considered aggravated.

Swedish authorities were initially alerted to the man’s trail when the FBI notified their colleagues in Sweden that poison had been sold via a website.

The police have not yet identified the buyers, and the man denies the charges.