Two Iranian brothers living in Sweden, one of whom worked for both the Swedish Security Police and the Swedish military, were accused of espionage for Russia for ten years last week.
They are suspected of conducting espionage on behalf of Russia between 2011 and 2021 and have been in detention since their arrest last year.
According to SVT, Swedish prosecutors now claim that the brothers were working for the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, even though it was unclear at the time of their arrest who the men may have been sending their information to.
Peyman Kia, 42, and Payam Kia, 35, were the brothers, according to Swedish officials. One of the two was additionally charged with grossly unlawful handling of confidential information.
Per Lindqvist, the head prosecutor for the National Security Unit, stated last Friday that it would have been detrimental to Sweden’s security if the brothers’ information had ended up in the hands of a foreign power. Later, Lindqvist told the Associated Press that the case deals with very delicate subjects.
The brothers shared information with the GRU starting on September 28, 2011, and continuing until September 20, 2021, according to the charging document. Peyman Kia, a member of Sweden’s military forces and domestic intelligence service, obtained the data.
The other brother, Payam, then assisted in coordinating the communications with the GRU and Russia, including setting up the information’s surrender and receipt of payment.
According to the accusations, after Peyman Kia was taken into custody, his brother Payam disassembled and broke a hard drive that was later discovered in the trash.
The Swedish Security Police, SAPO, started to develop a suspicion about a former employee in 2017 and opened an inquiry. According to Lindqvist, SAPO believed that the intelligence community may have a mole or insider.
Peyman Kia’s employment there between 2014 and 2015 was verified by SAPO. Peyman had previously served in the Swedish military.
In 1994, the Kia brothers were granted Swedish citizenship. In September and November of 2021, they were taken into custody.
They both reject any misconduct.