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Suspected spy arrested in central Stockholm

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Suspected spy arrested in central Stockholm
Daniel Stenling, Säpo's head of counterintelligence, pictured here in 2017. File photo: Christine Olsson/TT
09:58 CET+01:00
A person has been arrested on suspicion of illegal intelligence activity against Sweden, according to the country's security police.

"It's a person who is suspected of being enlisted as an agent by a Russian intelligence officer, who has worked in Sweden under the guise of diplomacy," said Daniel Stenling, head of counterintelligence at security police agency Säpo, according to a statement from the agency.

The person was detained during a meeting in central Stockholm on Tuesday evening, with police assistance.

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They are suspected of being involved in criminal activity since at least 2017, and reportedly worked within the Swedish technology industry, where they had access to information which might be helpful to foreign powers. 

Säpo said it had been working on the case for a long time and had carried out "intensive intelligence and investigation work".

Stenling said that threats to Sweden were "more extensive than they have been for several years", due to technological developments leading to advanced possibilities for digital information-gathering, combined with a continuation of the use of 'agents' who collect information themselves.

"The combination provides both breadth and depth in state actors' gathering of secret information," he commented.

Asked by the TT newswire whether sensitive information had been leaked to Russia, Stenling said it was "too early to talk about what we know he has disclosed".

Nor could Säpo share further information on who the suspect was or how many times they had met with the Russian agent. But prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said the meetings had taken place "with regularity" and that "they took great pains to hide these meetings".

The Russian agent cannot be detained or arrested in Sweden due to diplomatic immunity, but Stenling said that if this was not the case, this person would also have been apprehended.

The prosecutor will decide no later than midday on Friday whether to ask the court to have the suspect remanded.

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