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CRIME

Number of bomb attacks in Sweden has surged this year

The number of attacks with explosives has increased significantly so far this year, according to the latest official figures, with 93 attacks up until the end of May.

Number of bomb attacks in Sweden has surged this year
An attack on a nightclub in central Malmö earlier this year. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
By the same time last year, the tally was at just 63.
 
According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, which collects the figures, there were 162 explosions reported last year. Figures are not available for earlier years as, the council only began counting explosions as a separate category in 2018. 
 
“There's an arms race going on in the world of organised crime,”  Stockholm University criminologist Sven Granath told Swedish state broadcaster Sveriges Radio
 
This week in Malmö, there were three attacks over a single 24-hour period, while last week a massive blast blew out all the windows of an apartment building in Linköping. 
 
The attacks have led some to talk of a new wave of violence hitting the country. 
 
“If we accept this this is the real rate of growth, it's a lot and of course very serious,” Manne Gerell, Associate Professor in Criminology at Malmö university, told the broadcaster. 
 
“Many people suspect that more or less the same people are involved in the explosions as in the shootings. So we might think that certain groups have started using explosives more than they did previously.” 
 
Granath said that Sweden's new weapons had also led to increased seizures of pistols, pushing some criminals to use explosives instead. Gerell said that it looked as if criminals had learnt how to use explosives, and were therefore more willing to use them. 
 
“They know that they have explosives as an alternative, which they perhaps wouldn't have considered five years' back,” he said. 
 
He said that in most cases the explosives seemed to be used to scare people and make a statement, with only a few cases looking designed to kill or injure. 
 
“Because most of the explosions are at places where there are no people on the scene — entrances, empty shops or vehicles — it's a reasonable hypothesis at this is most often about sending a message or signal,” he said. 
 
Granath warned that attacks with explosives were more likely to end up injuring innocent bystanders than shooting attacks. 
 
“Some people have been shot dead by mistake, but there are also people who have been killed by explosives by mistake and I think the risk of being 'caught up in the cross-fire' is greater with explosives,” he said. 
 
He said that explosives attacks which can be heard several kilometres away also had a more damaging impact on local communities, giving people the sense they were living in danger. 
 
“It's obvious that it affects an extremely large number of people. It sends the signal that something is dangerous and unpleasant.” 

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CRIME

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

Birgitte Bonnesen, a former CEO of Swedish bank Swedbank, has been acquitted of charges of fraud and sharing insider information.

Swedish court clears former Swedbank CEO of fraud charges

The ruling from the Stockholm District Court comes four years after the eruption of a money laundering scandal implicating the bank.

In 2019, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT alleged that at least 40 billion kronor (equivalent at the time to $4.4 billion) of suspicious and high-risk transactions had been channelled to Baltic countries, notably Estonia, from Swedbank accounts.

The revelations, which saw the bank’s share price crumble, rendered Bonnesen’s position untenable and she was fired.

Sweden’s financial regulator the following year fined the bank some 360 million euros and warned it to follow anti-money laundering laws.

Prosecutors later charged Bonnesen, accusing her of “intentionally or by aggravated negligence” providing false or misleading information about the steps the bank had taken to prevent and detect suspected money laundering.

Bonnesen, who risked two years in prison, denied all of the charges against her.

The court said that while some of the statements the former CEO made to media outlets had been “unclear and incomplete”, they did not amount to fraud.

“For criminal liability, it is not enough for someone to make a false statement or omit key information,” judge Malou Lindblom said, adding that any statement needed to be sufficient to influence recipients “in a certain direction”.

Bonnesen was also cleared of charges of revealing insider information by informing the bank’s main owners that the investigative documentary was coming.

The court said the former CEO had only revealed what she believed the documentary would cover, which was deemed too “imprecise” to be considered insider information.

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