Wanted Swedish couple arrested in Vietnam resort

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Swedish fugitives Lundgren Nils Goeran Lennart (L) and Eklund Mickelsson Sonja Birgitta were arrested by Vietnamese police in Binh Thuan Province on December 25, acting on an international warrant issued by the Swedish police.

Vietnamese police arrested on Monday (December 26) a Swedish couple wanted in their country for alleged fraud.

Lundgren Nils Goeran Lennart and his partner Eklund Mickelsson Sonja Birgitta, both 58, were nabbed at the Sea Links Beach Hotel in Phan Thiet Town, Binh Thuan Province, where they had rented a villa.

The arrests were made by the joint efforts of the Binh Thuan police and their counterparts from the Ministry of Public Security.

On December 20, 2010, Swedish police had issued an international warrant for the couple and forwarded it to Interpol offices all over the world.

"These two individuals have committed gross frauds directed at members of the public in Sweden and they have each been sentenced to imprisonment of two years and six months by a Swedish court of law," Varg Gyllander, a spokesperson for the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, told Thanh Nien Weekly.

According to Swedish police, the couple ran a construction company in Stockholm. In 2005, they allegedly defrauded their business partners in Sweden of millions of US dollars intended for a non-existent project in Thailand.

"The offences are considered gross as the couple defrauded individuals of very large amounts of money; money intended for a non-existent project," Gyllander said.

The couple fled Sweden in December last year and chose Vietnam to hide after traveling to a number of other countries. After arriving in Phan Thiet Town, the couple set up the Hai Au Limited Company, focusing on tourism services, in an attempt to cover their identities.

"If a person [is] sentenced to relatively short prison terms and [is] not considered dangerous him or her can be free while waiting for sentence," Gyllander said. "It is also permitted to hold a passport for offenders. Therefore, it is quite easy to leave the country."

Gyllander said the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation wished to express its gratitude to Vietnamese colleagues who successfully helped apprehend and detain the couple.

He said the results were achieved through close cooperation between Vietnamese police and the Swedish police liaison officer in Bangkok.

Gyllander said Vietnamese police will now act to expel the couple. They will be taken to Bangkok and from there to Sweden, he added.

During their transfer from Bangkok to Sweden they will be escorted by officers from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service.

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