The city of Malmö paid some 70 million kronor to a company that offers supported living for around 30 criminals who said they want to turn around their lives, but a series of SVT reports showed that in some cases gang members were placed together in luxury apartments that they then used as a base for more criminal activity.
In one case, two young male gang members were placed in a five-bedroom luxury apartment close to Malmö Central Station that was complete with a fireplace and balcony. The city used 1,800 kronor per day of taxpayer money to support one of the apartment’s occupants and 1,500 kroner per day for the other. On top of that, the young men were provided with a cleaning service and free food.
When an SVT reporter asked an anonymous employee of the company if the apartments were best described as “all-inclusive resorts”, the woman laughed and said, “Yeah, you could say that.”
Cocaine, guns and explosives
SVT reported that one of the residents, an 18-year-old, was tied to a 2017 explosion in the neighbourhood of Höja after a police search of the apartment found three of the same type of powerful fireworks used in the Höja incident with his fingerprints on them. Police also found a text message on his phone from a known criminal that detailed delivery instructions for the explosives. The sender of that message was also living in a taxpayer-supported apartment as part of the same programme.
Police were unable to prove that the 18-year-old was directly involved in the explosion but charged him for the possession of the illegal Cobra 8 fireworks.
His roommate in the luxury apartment was found guilty of extortion and incitement of destruction in district court but was then acquited in the court of appeals.
A separate apartment that was part of the same programme housed a 23-year-old man who police consider to be a leading figure in the Malmö crime scene. He was hired as a handyman by the company that runs the programme and allowed to live in the apartment for free. In a search, police found cocaine in the residence but a friend took all of the blame and the 23-year-old was allowed to continue living there rent-free.
In yet another case, a criminal who was given an apartment in Bunkeflostrand attacked one of his neighbours and made death threats against three others. He was also caught driving without a licence and in possession of cannabis. He was then moved to the luxury apartment in central Malmö before being shot and killed in March 2017. The fingerprints of one of his roommates in the luxury apartment were found on a gun that police connected to a shooting in Rosengård. That resident was also found in possession of narcotics.
Following these and other revelations by SVT, social services officials in Malmö said they would instigate their own investigation into the programme.
“This is a very serious picture being painted and we need to get to the bottom of this,” Katarina Lindeberg, the head of the Department of Labour and Social Services, told SVT.
City Councillor Sedat Arif called the revelations “very serious”.
“I think it is important that we conduct a proper review of this and from there develop new procedures,” he told news agency TT. “Society is investing a lot of money into this and there must be clear demands on what we expect from these people.”