Sweden charges two brothers with spying for Russian military intelligence

Säpo swedenAUTHORITIES IN SWEDEN HAVE charged two brothers, one of whom worked in a highly secretive Swedish intelligence unit, with spying for Russian military intelligence for a decade, according to news reports. The charges resulted from a six-year investigation led by the Swedish Security Service (SAPO), which is the country’s counterintelligence agency. SAPO reportedly launched the probe in 2017, based on suspicions that it harbored a spy in its personnel ranks.

The two brothers have been named by Swedish media as Payam Kia, 35, and Peyman Kia, 42. They were reportedly born in Iran and became Swedish citizens in 1994. It is also reported that Payam Kia worked for SAPO and had access to classified information from a host of Swedish government agencies. SAPO accuses the two men of having worked “jointly” to pass information to the Main Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, known broadly as GRU.

According to Swedish authorities, the two men began spying for Russia in September of 2011 and continued until the fall of 2021. Peyman Kia allegedly acted as a courier, passing information and payments between his brother and his Russian handlers. Per Lindqvist, chief prosecutor for Sweden’s National Security Unit, told the Associated Press news agency that the Kia brothers case involved “extremely sensitive topics”, but did not elaborate. Some reports claim that Payam Kia had access to the files of Swedish spies operating abroad.

The younger of the two brothers was reportedly arrested in September of 2021. His older brother was arrested in November of the same year. They face up to life imprisonment. They both deny the charges against them.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 14 November 2022 | Permalink

2 Responses to Sweden charges two brothers with spying for Russian military intelligence

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like there may be two main issues that led to this situation:

    1. Swedish security couldn’t thoroughly do multigenerational background employment checks of the brothers. Checks of the brothers’ parents, uncles, aunts and grandparent generation, back in Iran, would be a fundamentally flawed, dangerous, process when Iranian security naturally wouldn’t cooperate in a vetting process – in fact quite the opposite.

    2. Well-known positive relations between Russian and Iranian intelligence could increase the chances that Russia-Iran could blackmail the brothers by 2011 into cooperating with the GRU. The blackmail leverage could have been Iranian threats that the brothers’ relatives back in Iran would suffer.

  2. F. Adams says:

    I wonder if that’s who’s been stealing the roadside cameras in Sweden that are showing up in Russian drones in Ukraine. It’d be really ironic if that’s what got them caught given how sloppy Russian tradecraft’s gotten and not any kind of nonsense regarding Sweden’s NOC list. They’ve apparently lost 160 of them as of October.

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