The 45-year-old IT consultant and father was arrested on Tuesday evening during a meeting at a nightclub with a Russian official who is suspected of being an intelligence officer working under diplomatic cover.
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“It's an incredible surprise,” his former PhD supervisor told The Local. “He was doing very basic research, using generally available programmes, so there's nothing special that could be interesting for some spy story or so.”
The man's identity was revealed in a court order for him to be placed in pre-trial detention on the grounds that he might “tamper with evidence or in some other way complicate the investigation”.
The document had at first hidden the man's name and address, but in a copy seen by The Local, the anonymized name NN 1 has been crossed out and the man's real name and address written over it in blue biro. “Adjusted after dialogue with the lawyer on March 1st,” a note reads.
The man was born and brought up in Sweden. He has a PhD from the prestigious Chalmers University of Technology, has published several papers in academic circles and now works as a consultant.
The man's supervisor said that there had been nothing in his behaviour to suggest vulnerability when they knew him several years ago.
“He's a very social person, very open-minded and a very nice person to have in a group. There were no signs of odd behaviour or loneliness, rather the opposite, he was a very active, outspoken member of the group.”
The Dagens Nyheter newspaper has obtained a video of the arrest, which took place during a meeting at a Stockholm nightclub:
Stockholm District Court on Friday remanded the man in custody pending the investigation.