Swedish oil executives face charges over complicity in war crimes

Sweden on Thursday gave its green light for the indictment of the chief executive and chairman of Swedish group Lundin Oil, accused of being complicit in war crimes in the 2000s.

Swedish oil executives face charges over complicity in war crimes
Alex Schneiter (left) and Ian Lundin. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The Swedish government authorized the prosecution authority to proceed with an indictment against Alex Schneiter, a Swiss national currently serving as chief executive of Lundin Oil (now known as Lundin Petroleum), and Ian Lundin, the company's Swedish chairman of the board.

“Given the severity of the crime, justice must be allowed to run its course,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said.

Sweden can prosecute crimes committed abroad in its court system, but the government's approval is needed to press charges against a foreign national for crimes committed abroad, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

The pair face a life sentence if convicted.

Lundin Oil is suspected of funding the Sudanese army and several militias to chase away local populations from regions where the company planned to carry out oil exploration.

According to aid organisations, oil activities in the politically unstable region of southern Sudan fuelled a conflict between Khartoum and rebels.

Aid organization Ecos said in 2010 that 12,000 people were killed or died of starvation, exhaustion or disease directly linked to the conflict between 1997 and 2003 in the area where Lundin Oil was active.

Swedish prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry into the case in 2010.

In 2016, Schneiter and Lundin were formally suspected of being complicit to  violations of international law, a term in the Swedish justice system that covers war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

On its website, the oil group said it believes “there are no grounds for any allegations of wrongdoing by any representative of the company.”

“Lundin Petroleum strongly believes that it was a force for development in Sudan and was at all times an advocate for peace by peaceful means in the region,” it added. 

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Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

The former politician has been charged on suspicion of murdering his colleague in an apartment south of Stockholm, after police found body parts in three different locations in the capital.

Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

According to the prosecution, the body parts found in plastic bags in central Stockholm came from a man in his 60s murdered in an apartment in Nyköping, south of Stockholm.

The man is said to have been killed by a pistol shot to the head, after which the 60-year-old charged with the murder dismembered the body.

The suspected murderer, who newspaper Expressen reports is a former Sweden Democrat politician, is said to have moved the body parts multiple times, eventually dumping them across the city.

In total, three body parts were found in two different locations – the Karlsberg canal and in the Djurgården park. Not all parts of the body have yet been found.

“We’ve carried out a comprehensive investigation into the victim and the suspect. We can, to some extent, show how and when the suspect moved the body parts,” prosecutor Marina Chirakova told TT.

The victim, who according to Expressen was also a former Sweden Democrat politician, had been friends with the suspected murderer for a number of years. Prosecutors did not comment on the motive behind the murder.

“That will be discussed in the main hearings,” she told TT.

The suspect was taken into custody in November last year after being arrested in Nyköping. He denies the charges, but accepts certain circumstances related to the case.

Upon his arrest, he resigned from his political obligations and his membership was frozen by the Sweden Democrats.

“I don’t want to comment on his stance on the charges or anything he has said,” she further told TT.

The murder is suspected to have taken place between August 30th and September 16th last year.