Swedish court acquits Russian-born businessman of spying for Moscow

A Russian-born Swedish businessman has been acquitted of collecting information for Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, for almost a decade

Via AP news wire
Thursday 26 October 2023 11:18 BST
Sweden Russia Espionage
Sweden Russia Espionage

A Russian-born Swedish businessman was acquitted on Thursday of collecting information for Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, for almost a decade.

Sergey Skvortsov, 60, had been accused of “ gross illegal intelligence activities against Sweden and against a foreign power,” namely the United States.

The Stockholm District Court said Skvortsov had largely acted in the way prosecutors alleged and that advanced technology was acquired and delivered to Russia.

But the court said in its verdict “that the business (was) only intended for the procurement of technology from the West and not aimed at obtaining information concerning Sweden or the United States that may constitute espionage.”

Judge Jakob Hedenmo said in a statement that the prosecutor was unable to prove that Skvortsov was involved in espionage.

Skvortsov was arrested in November together with his wife in a predawn operation in Nacka, outside Stockholm. Swedish media reported that elite police rappelled from two Black Hawk helicopters to arrest the couple.

On Oct. 9, the Stockholm District Court said that Skvortsov was released ahead of a verdict in his trial, which ended Sept. 28, saying “there is no longer reason to keep the defendant in custody.”

Skvortsov had denied any wrongdoing, His wife was released without charge following an investigation by Sweden’s security agency.

According to the prosecutor, Skvortsov had obtained information via two companies about items that Russia cannot otherwise acquire due to export regulations and sanctions.

He then helped to buy and transport the goods, misleading suppliers by providing false or misleading information and acting under false identities.

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