Swedish authorities have arrested an elderly couple on suspicion of spying for Russia, a news report has claimed. According to reports, helicopters were spotted around a silent residential area in the outskirts of Stockholm in a pre-dawn raid on their property.
The Telegraph reported that the couple is believed to be in their 60s and was suspected of being Russian spies while running a lucrative import-export business.
Sweden’s Prosecution Authority said one of the two was accused of “gross illegal intelligence activities against Sweden and against a foreign power.”
However, the authority did not identify the other country allegedly spied on.
According to local media reports, the man was suspected by Sweden’s domestic security service (SAPO) of spying for Russia for around 10 years, while the woman was suspected of having acted as an accomplice throughout that period.
They were reported to have lived in Sweden since the late 1990s, where they built up a business importing and exporting electronic components, with a turnover of more than €30million a year.
Sweden’s security agency said the operation, which included house searches, was carried out with the assistance of the police and the Swedish Armed Forces, which provided helicopters.
The spy agency said a probe “has been ongoing for some time.”
The agency did not identify which country the two suspects worked for or give any other details. Swedish media reported the suspects are a man and a woman in their 60s and that they are a couple.
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that they were Russians who arrived in Sweden in the late 1990s.
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Stefan Hector, head of the Swedish police national operative department, said Operation Spear, which took place in a business south of Stockholm, took under a minute and said that the swift action was needed because the suspects should “not be able to flush anything in the toilet or destroy computers.”
Neighbours told Aftonbladet the property was swarming with police officers after the couple were marched out of their home.
The couple were described as friendly but not so social members of the local community.
“They are just like anybody else. You say hi to them sometimes,” a neighbour told the paper.