Sweden Democrat MEP convicted of sexual assault

A Swedish appeals court has found a Sweden Democrat member of the European Parliament guilty of sexually assaulting a colleague.

Sweden Democrat MEP convicted of sexual assault
Peter Lundgren, a Swedish member of the European Parliament. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Peter Lundgren, 58, who had been acquitted in a district court, was sentenced to a fine equivalent to 60 days’ salary after “the prosecution presented additional evidence” to the Göta Court of Appeal in south-western Sweden.

The court said it found “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the “MEP touched the breasts of the plaintiff against her will”, the court said in a statement.

Lundgren has served as a member of the European Parliament since 2014, when he became one of the Swedish far-right’s first members of the European Parliament.

He was re-elected in 2019.

In March 2018, he was accused of “putting his hands under (the victim’s) sweater and bra and putting his hands on her breasts”, according to the charge sheet.

The victim, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, was a member of the Swedish parliament at the time.

He risked two years in prison.

The scandal erupted in May 2019, when another MEP from the Sweden Democrats, Kristina Winberg, alerted the party leadership about Lundgren’s actions against another party member.

According to Swedish media, Winberg was stricken from the party’s list of candidates for the impending European elections after speaking out.

The Sweden Democrats called her behaviour “reprehensible” and “lacking judgement both in regard to (party) colleagues and staff”.

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Helsingborg ‘has become major European cocaine hub’

A port in southern Sweden has become a European hub for cocaine being smuggled from South America to the continent, Swedish customs warned Friday following several large drug seizures this year.

Helsingborg 'has become major European cocaine hub'

Swedish customs agents have seized 867 kilograms (1,911 pounds) of cocaine at the Helsingborg port since the beginning of this year, the customs agency said, compared with the 822 kilograms seized in the whole of Sweden last year.

Including seizures abroad destined for Helsingborg, a total of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine had been seized since September 2022.

Magnus Pettersson, a senior prosecutor with the Prosecution Authority’s unit for international and organised crime, told a press conference the seizures “were completely without precedent in Swedish criminal history.”

“Sweden, and the port of Helsingborg, has become the point of transit for South American cocaine on its way out onto the illegal European market,” Pettersson said.

The narcotics are being smuggled in containers often transporting fruits and vegetables on freight ships from South America, in many cases Ecuador, he said.

Hidden compartments are often built into the containers. Helsingborg had emerged as a hub for drug trafficking because the frequency of harbour controls had been too low and security around the port had been lacking.

Coupled together, this meant there was a “near free flow of cocaine” both into and out of the port.

In order to stop the smuggling, every refrigerated container from South America passing through the port would need to be controlled, the customs agency said. The smuggling was believed to involve both Swedish and international criminal networks.

In recent months, Swedish Customs had on multiple occasions discovered tracks from smugglers breaking into the port area to empty the containers.

Equipment such as “bags, bolt cutters and blow torches” had been found, the agency said in a statement.

While additional resources had been committed, the customs agency lamented that few arrests had been made, noting that the only arrest had been of two Albanian citizens after they had collected 47 kilograms of cocaine in December.

Sweden has struggled to rein in a surge of shootings and bombings in recent years, as gangs settle scores fuelled by the narcotics trade.