Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swedish Spy Sparks Outrage

STOCKHOLM -- Sweden's prime minister Thursday accused Russia of harboring and apparently employing a fugitive Swedish spy in Russia and Lebanon as late as this year.


Prime Minister Carl Bildt said the Swedish government had filed a formal protest with the Russian ambassador in Stockholm. He said Sweden had also retracted its acceptance of a new Russian military attache in the capital.


"There is no doubt at all" about Russia's responsibility, Bildt said at a news conference. He said Sweden was considering filing formal protests with other countries but declined to name them.


The spy, Stig Bergling, returned to Sweden late Tuesday with his wife Elisabeth Sandberg, saying they were homesick after seven years on the run.


Bergling, who was convicted and jailed in 1979 for life for giving defense secrets to Moscow in the 1970s, made a dramatic escape in 1987 allegedly with Soviet help. The couple disappeared apparently into the Soviet Union.


While working for the Swedish army and intelligence agencies, Bergling turned over more than 14,700 documents to the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Sweden was forced to revamp much of its defense system after he was caught.


The couple flew home Tuesday from an unknown place of refuge. Bergling was taken into custody and debreifed.


"They were taken care of by Soviet staff" in Finland "and were taken by the Soviet Embassy and probably also by the GRU over the border," Bildt saidusing the acronym for Soviet military intelligence agency.


"There is hardly any doubt that Bergling thereafter was in the employment of the GRU and that he was so until very recently, in Lebanon," Bildt said.