Stiff prison sentences in SEB embezzlement scandal

A 39-year old man was sentenced to seven years in prison for serious fraud and accounting crimes in connection with a multi-million scheme to cheat SEB offices in Gothenburg.

The court handed the man’s 50-year old accomplice a five-year sentence for his role in the crime.

A 47-year old bank employee also received two and a half years for breach of trust.

By drawing up fake invoices for sales that never took place, the 39-year old managed to receive several hundred million kronor from SEB. The man also participated in forbidden currency exchanges between the bank’s dollar and euro accounts.

The total amount of embezzled funds varies depending on the daily exchange rates, but stood at roughly 200 million kronor at the start of the district court trial. The indictment included a figure of 176 million kronor.

The question of damages to be paid to SEB was left unsettled in the district court judgment, but will be taken up in a separate civil suit.

Despite the long prison sentences, the district court has allowed the men to be free on their own recognizance until the judgment comes into force.

In its judgment, the district court took into consideration the fact that the investigation lasted five years and also requires that both men be barred from running a business for ten years.

The prosecutor had originally asked for sentences of seven and six years, respectively, for the main suspects, and four years in prison for the bank employee.


Germany cracks down on fake Covid vaccine documents

German police have set up a special team to fight a growing number of forged vaccine certificates being sold in the black market

Germany cracks down on fake Covid vaccine documents
People who are fully vaccinated can show their vaccination booklet, which has a stamp and a sticker inside. Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Police in Cologne have warned of a group of fraudsters selling fake vaccination certificates, a growing problem the scale of which is still unclear.

The police said the fraudsters worked in encrypted Telegram chats, making investigations difficult, and were selling fake documents with all the stamps and signatures, including a mark about vaccination with BioNTech or AstraZeneca.

READ ALSO: Germany probes Covid-19 testing centres for fraud

The fraud involved both real traffic in fake documents as well as scams luring customers into paying €100.

People in Germany who are fully vaccinated can show their vaccination booklet, which has a stamp and a sticker inside. Those who don’t have a booklet get a piece of paper.

Covid health passes are currently being rolled out across the EU, with a European health passport expected to be available from mid-June.

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on how the EU’s ‘Covid passports’ will work for travellers?

Over 44% of the adult population in Germany has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and more than 18% of Germans have been fully vaccinated.

German police have said forged coronavirus vaccine documents are becoming an increasing problem.

Last month, a couple in Baden-Württemberg was accused of selling fake coronavirus vaccination certificates.