Russian couple arrested as spies after helicopter raid in Stockholm

TT/The Local
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Russian couple arrested as spies after helicopter raid in Stockholm
Two Swedish Army helicopters take part in an exercise in Malmö back in 2007. The Swedish Armed Forces have not disclosed which type of helicopter was used in the raid. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

Sweden's Säpo security police have arrested two people on suspicion of carrying out and aiding "serious illegal espionage", after a raid on Tuesday morning which was supported by two army helicopters.


According to a report in the Aftonbladet newspaper, they were a married couple, both in their 60s, from Russia. The raid took place at 6.01am on Tuesday at their detached house in the south of Stockholm. 

"The helicopter was hovering directly over the house and a team shot down and jumped in through the window," one eyewitness to the operation told Sweden's SVT broadcaster. "It was total mayhem, there were crowds of people running out of vans. I wondered 'what's going on?'."  

Säpo said in a press release, that the two were seized after an investigation into what the police said was "a threat against Sweden's security", which had been carried out in secret "for some time". The arrests, Säpo said, were not connected in any way to any other ongoing cases.  

One of the arrested individuals is suspected of the crimes of "gross unlawful intelligence activities against Sweden" and "gross unlawful intelligence activities against a foreign power", and the other with being an accessory to these crimes. 


"What we can say is that these are serious accusations. "Gross unlawful intelligence activities" is a crime which threatens Sweden's security,"  Gabriel Wernstedt, a press secretary for Säpo, told TT, pointing out that the men are also charged on suspicion of spying on foreign countries. "This implies that several countries have been affected."

According to TT, the suspects were arrested in Stockholm, with the Swedish Armed Forces supplying two helicopters to aid in the operation.  A third person has been taken in for questioning. 

Stefan Hector, the head of the Swedish national police's operations centre, said the operation, called "Operation Javelin" had taken less than a minute. 

"That's so that that the perpetrators could be arrested simultaneously so that they would not be able to tamper with the evidence," he said. "They couldn't be allowed to flush anything down the toilet or delete data."


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