Swedish brothers face trial on Russia spy charges

By November 26, 2022News, World News

Two Swedish brothers accused of selling secrets to Russia's intelligence services have gone on trial in what has been called one of Sweden's worst ever alleged cases of espionage.
Peyman Kia, 42, and Payam Kia, 35, are accused of spying for Moscow over a 10-year period.
The older brother previously worked for Sweden's security services and army.
Both men deny wrongdoing, and Peyman Kia's lawyer insists prosecutors do not have enough evidence for a conviction.
Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist described the case as unique, telling Sweden's public broadcaster SVT the country had not seen anything like it "in over 20 years".
Much of the trial is being held behind closed doors due to the sensitive nature of the information being discussed.
Press access is limited and everyone attending the Stockholm courtroom has had to undergo security checks.
Intelligence expert Joakim von Braun described it as the worst case of espionage in Sweden's history, noting the suspects had access to a list of every single employee of Sapo, the Swedish security and intelligence agency.
"That alone is a major problem as Russian intelligence focuses on human sources," he told SVT.
At one point in his career, Peyman Kia reportedly served in the Office for Special Acquisition (KSI), one of Swedish intelligence's most secretive departments.
In the months before his and his brother's arrest in late 2021, investigators seized mobile phones, a smashed hard drive, several other storage devices and notes detailing cash and gold transactions.
Separately, a man in his 60s has been remanded in custody after he and his wife were dramatically arrested on Tuesday – suspected of serious intelligence crimes.
A neighbour told local media that elite police descended from two Black Hawk helicopters in a wealthy residential area just outside Stockholm, before the couple's windows were smashed.
Public prosecutor Henrik Olin said the man was linked to Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, and the case covered "technical acquisition for the Russian military-industrial industry".
He was suspected of carrying out "gross intelligence activities" against both Sweden and the US, and the FBI had been assisting the investigation, Mr Olin added.
His wife was released on Thursday, but remains a suspect.
The couple reportedly moved from Russia to Sweden in the 1990s.
On Thursday, Russia's foreign ministry said it had not been officially informed about the case by Swedish authorities.
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