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Swedish court acquits alleged Russian ‘agent’

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – A Stockholm court yesterday acquitted a Russian-Swede accused of passing Western technology to Russia’s military, ruling that while he did export the material his actions did not amount to espionage.

Prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence against Sergei Skvortsov, a 60-year-old dual national who has lived in Sweden since the 1990s running import-export companies.

Skvortsov stood accused of conducting “unlawful intelligence activities” for a decade against Sweden and the United States until his arrest in November 2022.

Prosecutors claimed Skvortsov was a “procurement agent” for a vast Russian organisation acquiring technology off-limits to Moscow due to sanctions. According to experts quoted in the Swedish media, the equipment was mainly electronic devices that can be used in nuclear weapons research.

“He is a procurement agent for the Russian military complex and its intelligence unit GRU,” prosecutor Henrik Olin told the Stockholm district court in his final arguments in late September.

“Russia has a need for electronic technology. There is a Russian procurement system, and this system is run by the intelligence services… Skvortsov and his two companies are a part of this system,” Olin said.

A police tape cordons off a house where Swedish Security Service allegedly arrested two people on suspicion of espionage. PHOTO: AP
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