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Former Swedish intelligence officer jailed for life for spying for Russia | Sweden

A Stockholm court has sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life imprisonment and his younger brother to 10 years after convicting them both of spying for the Russian military intelligence service for more than a decade.

Peyman Kia, 42, served in Sweden’s security and counterintelligence service, Säpo, and in armed forces intelligence agencies, including the Foreign Intelligence Agency (Must) and KSI, a top secret unit dealing with Swedish spies abroad.

He was found guilty of aggravated espionage and unauthorized manipulation of classified documents. The judge, Måns Wigén, said Kia had abused the trust placed in him to help Russia, the country posing “the greatest threat to Sweden”.

His brother Payam, 35, was convicted of aggravated espionage for planning the crime and handling contacts with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, passing on 45 of the 90 documents Peyman allegedly collected.

The court said they had “jointly and in concert, without authorization and in aid of Russia and the GRU, acquired, transmitted and shared information, the disclosure of which to a foreign power might be injurious to the security of Sweden”.

The Iranian-born brothers, who both have Swedish citizenship, have denied the charges and are expected to appeal against them. They were arrested in 2021 as Säpo suspected he had a mole and accused them of spying for Moscow since 2011.

Much of the evidence, court hearings and the full decision have not been made public for national security reasons, and the court acknowledged that despite evidence including USB drives, laptops and phones laptops, “some pieces of the puzzle are missing”.

He found that in 2016-17 Peyman Kia handled cash worth around 550,000 crowns (£43,000), most of it in US dollars, which he said most likely represented a payment of Russia.

The verdict followed the spectacular pre-dawn arrest late last year in an affluent Stockholm suburb of a Russian couple suspected of carrying out “illegal intelligence activities” against Sweden and the United States – also for more than 10 years.

The “totally ordinary” couple, who have not been officially named by Swedish authorities, are believed to have arrived in Sweden in 1997, acquired Swedish citizenship and run an import-export business of computer and communications equipment.

A Stockholm court ordered the detention of the man suspected of ‘aggravated illegal intelligence activities against Sweden and a foreign power’, but released his partner – suspected of being his accomplice – pending investigations . Both deny all allegations.

Swedish media speculated that the couple’s alleged ties to Moscow’s intelligence community meant they were almost certainly sleeper agents, and prosecutor Henrik Olin said the husband was ‘linked to the GRU’ .

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