2 Swedish brothers found guilty of spying for Russia

Two Swedish brothers were convicted Thursday by a Swedish district court of spying for Russia's foreign military intelligence agency, according to media reports.

The brothers passed about 100 classified documents from Sweden’s security and intelligence service to Russia’s intelligence agency, GRU, said to the verdict by the Stockholm district court.

The secret files were accessed by the older brother while he worked for Sweden’s security service and military intelligence (SAPO), said broadcaster SVT.

"It is beyond reasonable doubt that the brothers, jointly and in consultation, without authorization and in order to reach Russia and the GRU, acquired, forwarded and disclosed information whose disclosure to a foreign power could entail but for Sweden's security," the court wrote in the judgment.

Peyman Kia, 42, was sentenced to life for aggravated espionage and unauthorized position with a secret mission. Payam Kia, 35, was given nine years and 10 months for aggravated espionage.

The purpose of the crimes was to "enrich oneself," said senior judge Mans Wigen.

Wigen said the older brother’s espionage falls into “the most grave category” because he was fully aware of the damage it would cause and “he has obtained, transferred and disclosed information to Russia, which constitutes the largest threat to Sweden’s security.”

The brothers were arrested in September 2021 and charged with working to pass information to Russia between Sept. 28, 2011 and Sept. 20, 2021.

Defense lawyers told the court that their clients have denied any wrongdoing.

The case is one of the most damaging examples of espionage in Sweden’s history, primarily because the two men collected a list of all of the workers for SAPO.

Sweden's biggest spy scandal occurred during the Cold War when security officer Stig Bergling, who was employed by SAPO and the armed forces, sold secret information to the Soviet Union.

Bergling was sentenced in 1979 to life on similar charges but managed to escape from prison. He has never been caught.

Source: Anadolu Agency