Sweden plans to crack down on gang crime

Nobody should have to live in fear of shootings or gang crime, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told reporters after a meeting with the government's council on security politics on Thursday morning.

Sweden plans to crack down on gang crime
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, left, and Interior Minister Anders Ygeman. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

“Common strategies against organized crime are needed. Nobody should have to fear shootings where they live or organized crime,” he said. “Criminals should be worried and sleep poorly at night, not the victims.”

The meeting followed a series of recent incidents in Stockholm believed to be linked to gang crime, which in turn came amid rising concern over shootings in the city of Malmö.

Interior Minister Anders Ygeman, who also spoke at the press conference, vowed that authorities would step up their crime fighting efforts in particularly vulnerable areas.

Asked if his centre-left coalition would allocate more financial resources to the police, Löfven said that he was looking at including it in the spring budget proposition, which is to be presented on April 18th.

Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin were also called to the meeting on Thursday, along with representatives from the police and prosecutors, tax and debt collection agencies, and the Swedish Economic Crime Authority.

Although deadly violence in Sweden has gone down in the past couple of decades, the number of shootings related to what can loosely be defined as gang violence is up. 


Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

Birgitte Bonnesen, a former CEO of Swedish bank Swedbank, has been acquitted of charges of fraud and sharing insider information.

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

The ruling from the Stockholm District Court comes four years after the eruption of a money laundering scandal implicating the bank.

In 2019, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT alleged that at least 40 billion kronor (equivalent at the time to $4.4 billion) of suspicious and high-risk transactions had been channelled to Baltic countries, notably Estonia, from Swedbank accounts.

The revelations, which saw the bank’s share price crumble, rendered Bonnesen’s position untenable and she was fired.

Sweden’s financial regulator the following year fined the bank some 360 million euros and warned it to follow anti-money laundering laws.

Prosecutors later charged Bonnesen, accusing her of “intentionally or by aggravated negligence” providing false or misleading information about the steps the bank had taken to prevent and detect suspected money laundering.

Bonnesen, who risked two years in prison, denied all of the charges against her.

The court said that while some of the statements the former CEO made to media outlets had been “unclear and incomplete”, they did not amount to fraud.

“For criminal liability, it is not enough for someone to make a false statement or omit key information,” judge Malou Lindblom said, adding that any statement needed to be sufficient to influence recipients “in a certain direction”.

Bonnesen was also cleared of charges of revealing insider information by informing the bank’s main owners that the investigative documentary was coming.

The court said the former CEO had only revealed what she believed the documentary would cover, which was deemed too “imprecise” to be considered insider information.