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CRIME

Multi-million data breach and fraud trial to get under way in Sweden

A startup, four banks and a superstore are understood to be among a number of organizations hit by a Swedish hacking and fraud attack that has now led to trial.

Multi-million data breach and fraud trial to get under way in Sweden
The police press conference on Monday. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Swedish prosecutors declined to reveal the exact number of suspected victims in the case.

“There are more companies and authorities affected, but the charges cover those in the charge sheet. We selected the most clear-cut cases early on,” investigator Helena Ljunggren told a press conference on Monday.

Eight people face trial in connection with the case, which involves at least 40 million kronor ($5 million). 

The main suspect's lawyer, Jan-Anders Hybelius, told the TT news agency that his client admits several of the fraud allegations, but claims that he acted on other people's instructions: “The money did not go to him. His financial compensation was very modest, the way I see it.”

His 38-year-old client is the only one who is accused of data breach attacks, which he denies. The other seven are accused of having been involved to varying extents in the fraud incidents, according to Ljunggren.

In most cases the data breaches were carried out with the help of e-mail attachments opened by individuals, reports TT. The fraud incidents were allegedly committed when the perpetrators broke into computer systems to send payments to the wrong recipients.

The investigation covers aggravated more than a dozen fraud incidents amounting to around 25.5 million kronor and fraud attempts of 15 million kronor. TT reports that the money was sent to accounts in Sweden and then transferred to other accounts, sometimes registered in Sweden and sometimes abroad.

Investigators have been able to trace some of the money to Kosovo and Hong Kong.

Around 20 companies, four banks, several law firms and a number of private individuals are among those affected, as well as the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. 

Banking giant Swedbank was made to pay out 4.3 million kronor in the most serious of the fraud attempts, but the money has been secured, according to prosecutor Ljunggren.

According to the Kvällsposten daily, the Gekås superstore in Ullared, Ikano Bank, Resurs Bank, payment startup Klarna and construction firm NCC are also among those targeted.

The Sweden Democrat party said they had also received e-mails from the group, but did not think they had fallen victim to financial fraud. “Unfortunately these kinds of e-mails are quite common in society and we have procedures for how to handle them,” said the party's press officer Henrik Vinge.

The trial starts on September 26th in Malmö.

CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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