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CRIME

‘What the hell are you doing?’ Swedish politicians react to car fires

Swedish politicians were quick to react after a spate of car fires in the greater Gothenburg region.

'What the hell are you doing?' Swedish politicians react to car fires
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said he was furious. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

“I get pissed off for real,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven hit out in an interview with Swedish radio ahead of the September 9th election, adding he wanted to ask the perpetrators “what the hell are you doing?”

“Society will come back hard on this,” said the Social Democrat leader, who also raised questions about the scope and timing of the attacks, which police suspect were coordinated via social media.

“It looks very coordinated, almost like a military operation,” Löfven said, adding that the police probe would show if the car fires were down to vandalism, organized crime or something else.

Justice and Interior Minister Morgan Johansson called the attacks “despicable”.

“Last year the government tightened the punishment for aggravated vandalism, which can now give up to six years in jail,” he tweeted. “Hope the thugs get arrested so that they get the punishment they deserved.”

Ulf Kristersson, leader of the centre-right opposition party the Moderates, wrote on Facebook that “dreadful scenes are being played out in Gothenburg”. “These are no 'protests', this is sabotage. Sweden has tolerated this far too long. It has to end,” he added.

Roger Haddad, justice spokesperson for the Liberals, called the attacks “unacceptable”.

“Parents also have to be involved, they have to be woken up and informed of what their sons are doing,” he wrote in a comment.

Around 80 cars were set on fire in western Sweden on Monday night, police said.

VIDEO: Masked thugs torch cars in Swedish suburb


A screenshot from a video of the car burnings, sent to The Local by a witness.

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CRIME

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.

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