Sweden Democrat employee a 'potential security risk’ for parliament, expert warns
A man working at the parliamentary office for the Sweden Democrats could pose a security risk, experts told Swedish Radio, due to his alleged ties with convicted Russian businessman and his use of multiple identities.
The man, who calls himself Egor Putilov, has worked at the Sweden Democrats’ office in parliament since February of this year, and has full access to the entire parliament building. Meanwhile, he systematically uses false names, Swedish Radio reports, finding at least five different names used by Putilov in newspaper articles, in contacts with authorities, and on social media.
Speaking to Swedish Radio, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, of the Social Democrats, called on the Sweden Democrats to take the allegations seriously and to get to the bottom of whether their staff member is a risk or not.
The man was previously employed by the Swedish Migration Agency, which has now said it will review all asylum applications processed by Putilov. The agency has not found any discrepancies in Putilov’s personal files, but it will look at around fifteen asylum cases involving people from Syria, Georgia, Mongolia and Iraq.
Putilov also applied for a job at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency in 2015.
“He had read an article in Dagens Nyheter about us launching a group that would work specifically towards disinformation and Russian propaganda, and he explained that he had specialist knowledge in this field and on that basis wanted to offer his services,” Mikael Tofvesson at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency told Swedish Radio.
In 2014 Putilov bought a house in the Stockholm area from an influential Saint Petersburg businessman and now-convicted criminal, described in Russian media as having ties to Russian authorities. Putilov bought the house for approximately half its value, and then immediately sold the house again for twice as much, making a profit of SEK 6 million.
Lars Nicander, director for the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish Defence University, told Swedish Radio News something does not add up in this equation.
“There must reasonably be some kind of returned favour in this, or a working capital for acting on behalf of someone else,” Nicander said.
Putilov himself declined to be interviewed, but stated that the deal was legitimate. But Nicander believes the deal has given the criminal business man a big enough hold on Putilov to make him a potential security risk in parliament.
“It is possible to overhear confidential conversations, you could hear how the parties position themselves for instance when it comes to (the Russian-German gas pipeline) Nord Stream, NATO and trade treaties. You could even put out wiretapping equipment at a stretch,” Nicander said.
The Sweden Democrats’ press secretary Henrik Vinge told Swedish Radio News they routinely carry out security checks on everyone hired at the parliamentary office, and he sees no reason to take any measures at this point.