Swedish rapper Yasin jailed over conspiracy to kidnap rival artist

A Swedish district court on Wednesday jailed rapper Yasin for conspiring to kidnap a rival artist.

Swedish rapper Yasin jailed over conspiracy to kidnap rival artist
A court sketch of rap artist Yasin Mahamoud and his lawyer. Photo: Johan Hallnäs/TT

Yasin Mahamoud was detained on New Year’s Eve for his involvement in the March 2020 kidnapping. He was jailed for 10 months on Wednesday.

He was named Artist of the Year and Hiphop/RnB Artist of the Year at the P3 Guldgalan awards earlier this year organised by Swedish public radio.

According to Wednesday’s verdict, Yasin planned to meet his victim at a recording studio and then lure him into a car in central Stockholm. He denied the charges.

The prosecution said that Yasin “received information, passed on information and had given orders and instructions on how and when” the
kidnapping should be carried out.

The planned kidnapping was ultimately aborted that weekend. The victim was, however, kidnapped several weeks later, but without Yasin’s involvement.

The victim was beaten, robbed, photographed in humiliating conditions and blackmailed, according to prosecutors.

The pictures were leaked on social media several weeks later when the victim refused to pay.

Most of the evidence in the case consisted of chat messages on the encrypted Encrochat service.

The Yasin case was part of a broader one involving 30 suspects in a criminal network accused of a variety of crimes.

On Wednesday, Chihab Lamouri, the leader of the network was sentenced to 17 years and 10 months in prison, while 26 others were sentenced for “serious criminal activity, committed within the network or connected to networked crime during the spring of 2020”.

Among them was another rapper, Haval Khalil, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for complicity in kidnapping and robbery of the same artist targeted by Yasin.

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Jailed Swedish spy admits selling information to the Russians

Peyman Kia, 42, the eldest of the two brothers jailed in January for spying for Russia's GRU intelligence service, has for the first time admitted to passing over information for money.

Jailed Swedish spy admits selling information to the Russians

Kia had a long career in Swedish intelligence official, working for the security police, Säpo, as well as the Swedish Armed Forces and their military intelligence service, Must. He was sentenced to life in prison in January for what has been called Sweden’s worst-ever spy scandal. 

Throughout the court case last year, Kia and his brother claimed innocence, but now, in a new interview with Säpo, he has for the first time started to admit what he did. 

“It was quite simply to earn money for myself,” he told Säpo in an interview, according to the broadcaster TV4, although he played down the importance of the information he had passed over. 

“I have never been in direct contact [with GRU], actually physically. On the first occasion it was real intelligence information, it was ‘live’ intelligence information, and I got paid for it. Then messages came back and forth, and on the second occasion I sent information it was 100 percent false, totally invented, and it was invented because they started to make detailed requests”. 

“Based on the orders which came, I pulled off a con and made it up entirely, giving information I thought could be considered probable, and I got compensation for that too.” 

He told Säpo his first contact had been with the foreign intelligence service, SVR, but that he had been passed to Russia’s military intelligence wing, the GRU, after his first delivery of information. 

He said that Russian intelligence’s increased activity in Sweden had been connected to the annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and that in 2014, when he began feeding information to Russia, most of the information had been about the hunt for Russian submarines in the Swedish archipelago. 

“That’s all they were interested in. It was everything about the submarine hunt, who was working on it, and what information have they managed to collect,” he said. 

He said it had been his little brother, Payam Kia, who had posted envelopes to the Russian embassy addressed with just the three letters GRU. 

He has also told Säpo more about how the work was done, talking about a dead letter box he set up in the removable ceiling in the toilet of a public library, and a security box hidden in a false book in his family’s bookshelf where he hid his Iranian passport and ID.