A Russian-Swedish man is on trial for spying for Russia in Sweden

A Russian-Swedish man is on trial for spying for Russia in Sweden

A Russian-Swedish man appears before a court in Stockholm on Monday, on suspicion of transferring Western information and technology to Russian military intelligence services about ten years ago.

Sergei Skvortsov (60 years old), who moved to Sweden with his wife in the 1990s, is accused of collecting information for his espionage activities, through companies he managed to import and export electronic products.

This trial comes in the context of the Swedish authorities' increasing concerns regarding national security, months after a former Swedish intelligence officer was convicted of spying for Russia.

Skvortsov is standing before the judiciary on charges of “intelligence activities contrary to the law” after an investigation conducted by the Swedish police with the assistance of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The trial is scheduled to continue until September 25, but part of it will take place behind closed doors for national security reasons.

Skvortsov, who holds dual Russian and Swedish citizenship, faces a prison sentence of up to four years if convicted.

His lawyer, Ulrika Borg, told AFP that her client denies the charges against him.

Skvortsov and his wife were arrested at dawn on November 22, 2022 at their home in the wealthy suburb of Naka in Stockholm during an operation carried out by police commando units using two helicopters.

His wife has since been released and the accused has been placed in detention on suspicion of “collecting information with actual possession of a set of equipment that the Russian state and defense forces cannot obtain on the open market due to export rules and sanctions.”

Skvortsov, according to the prosecution, worked against American interests from January 1, 2013 until November 2022, and against Sweden's interests from July 1, 2014.

Prosecutor Henrik Ohlin told AFP that he "posed a significant risk to the national security interests of both Sweden and the United States."

"You only have to look at the battlefield in Ukraine to see that there is a real need for this in the Russian military industry," Olin continued.

Speaking to journalists, Swedish Defense Minister Gunnar Strömer described the charges as "extremely serious."

American network?

In 2016, the American judiciary arrested and prosecuted people who provided the Russian military sector with electronic equipment.

Olin added, "The American authorities believe that the accused was responsible for continuing the activities of these people."

Swedish investigators found emails sent by the Russian Ministry of Defense to Skvortsov and confiscated computers, hard drives, keys for storing information and mobile phones from his home, among 81 pieces of evidence revealed in the indictment.

Immediately after the arrest in 2022, the Russian Foreign Ministry considered this to fall within the West's "anti-Russian hysteria."

Last July, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson believed that his country was facing “the most dangerous security situation since World War II,” adding, “States and government actors can seize the opportunity.”

The Swedish Minister of Justice considered Russia among the threats, similar to Iran and China as well.

The trial comes shortly after the conclusion of another espionage case for Russia.

In January, the Swedish judiciary sentenced a former Swedish intelligence agent to life imprisonment, after convicting him and his brother of “aggravated espionage.”

Bayman Kia (42 years old) was tried on charges of collecting sensitive information that his younger brother then transferred to the Russian Military Intelligence Service, between 2011 and 2021.

This case has been described as the largest espionage scandal in modern Swedish history, and indicates that Russian espionage activities have penetrated the Swedish intelligence service.