Solveig Wollstad was appointed for a second term as National Member for Sweden at Eurojust in June 2017. She began her career as a prosecutor in 1987, when she joined the Swedish Prosecution Authority. In 2001, she was promoted to Chief Public Prosecutor and Head of the International Public Prosecution Office in Linköping. From 2004 to 2007, Ms Wollstad served as National Member for Sweden at Eurojust. She was then Eurojust’s representative at the EU Police Chiefs Task Force and was also involved with relations with Europol and third States and a member of the Anti-Trafficking Team. From September 2007 to September 2014, Ms Wollstad returned to Sweden as Chief Public Prosecutor and Head of the International Public Prosecution Office for the south of Sweden in Malmö, dealing with serious organised national and transnational crime, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, arrest warrants and extradition. She then served as Head of the East Public Prosecution Area (Eastern Region) of the Swedish Prosecution Service and as Head of five District Prosecution Offices from October 2014 to May 2017, before returning to Eurojust in June 2017.
Deputy National Member
Erik Fågelsbo has been Deputy National Member for Sweden since March 2020. He has practical experience of judicial cooperation instruments working as a Senior Public Prosecutor in Sweden and as SNE at the Swedish desk at Eurojust in 2010/2011. Before joining the Swedish desk, he served as Adviser at the Ministry of Justice and JHA counsellor at the Swedish Permanent Representation to the EU, where he was involved in the negotiations of the Eurojust and the EPPO regulations.
Assistant to the National Member
Karin Sigstedt has been Assistant to the National Member for Sweden since June 2019. She has worked for the prosecution in Sweden since 1999, acting as Senior Prosecutor both at the Swedish Economic Crime Authority and the International Prosecution Office in Stockholm, where she has handled several cases involving both domestic and international organised crime groups. In recent years, she has been working as a Senior Legal Adviser, leading several projects for legal development and writing guidelines for prosecutors. As head of the Swedish judicial ARO and assessor for FATF, as well as steering group member and, in 2017, President of the Camden Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (CARIN), she has placed a lot of effort on asset recovery and the fight against money laundering. This and international cooperation was also her focus when she was seconded from Sweden in 2018/2019 to work as a Senior Adviser on Prosecution at the EUAM in Ukraine.
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Interview with National Member Solveig Wollstad
What strikes you most about working at Eurojust?
It is a fantastic environment. All colleagues are very helpful. I think it is the best job you could have as a prosecution authority. The number of cases is on the rise this year, up about 20 to 25 % compared with last year. That goes to show that we are a body that still functions really well, even during these hard times of the COVID-19 crisis. Prosecutors often get stuck when they try to have bilateral contacts with countries. If they send a European Investigation Order, for example, it will not necessarily be prioritised, even though it may be urgent. But if they ask for help from us – especially when a case involves many countries, which requires coordination – then our prosecutors and home authorities discover that this is a better way of working. Because we can select what is really urgent, and we have direct lines of communication with all of our colleagues.
Could you describe a case that you have supported and which had a particularly successful outcome?
Operation Prince is a case of serious fraud against the Swedish premium pension system of approximately SEK 2 billion (EUR 190 million) through trading in overpriced financial instruments. In addition to the Swedish State, those affected include tens of thousands of small savers.
In the first part of the case, four people were indicted for involvement in the fraud. Furthermore, confiscations were made that totalled more than SEK 200 million in value (EUR 19 million). In the judgment issued on April 17, 2020, the Stockholm District Court essentially agreed entirely with the prosecutor's line and gave all defendants lengthy prison sentences and issued huge claims from the State.
Important evidence in the case concerns, among other things, transactions with foreign financial instruments and payment flows abroad. Cooperation with other countries, not least through Eurojust and Europol, has therefore had a major impact on the success of the investigation according to the leading prosecutor in the case.
Which of the services and tools available through Eurojust do you consider most important for national judicial authorities – and why?
The coordination meetings and joint investigation teams (JITs). Misunderstandings can lead to so much confusion – for example, misunderstanding each other’s judicial systems or culture. Even if you are aware of these things, you tend to make comparisons with your own system, because you need some kind of reference point. Especially for the home authorities, there are often misunderstandings.
The best way to solve these issues is via coordination meetings: connecting people, talking to each other, explaining. For example, a specific behaviour may be a criminal offence in Sweden, but not necessarily in Spain, Italy or Poland. A big part of our job is to find out how things work in the other country and how they differ from Sweden.
There are also very simple things. For example, in Sweden we are very direct, while in some other countries it is very important to be polite and take a more cautious approach, which Swedish people normally are not used to. We are very efficient and pragmatic and have to learn how to approach authorities in other countries to get the best results. And the best way to do that is to actually meet.
We have had many coordination meetings during the COVID-19 crisis by videoconferencing, and though it does work, it is not the same as meeting face to face.
And, of course, the JITs are important too. They bring people together so they can solve problems, because we are all working towards the same purpose. So those are the best tools. Simple but important.
Contact the Swedish Desk
The Swedish Desk can be contacted via the channels defined at national level.
Svenska desken kan kontaktas via de kanaler som definierats på nationell nivå.