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Malaysian student arrested in Norway no longer suspected of spying

Published September 22, 2023 Updated September 22, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

OSLO (Norway) — A Malaysian student arrested in Oslo earlier this month in possession of electronic listening devices is no longer suspected of spying but may have been involved in economic crime, investigators said on Friday (Sept 22).

The 25-year-old was arrested on Sept 8 in Oslo after his rental car was observed near the prime minister’s office and the defence ministry, at the same time as unusual electronic signals were detected at those locations.

Intelligence service PST was put on the case as espionage was suspected.

“The hypothesis of illegal espionage has weakened considerably,” PST wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

“Meanwhile, the hypothesis of organised economic crime has strengthened substantially.”

The case has therefore been handed over to the Norwegian police’s Economic and Environmental Crime unit, known as Okokrim.

According to the unit, the man is believed to have been engaged in wide-reaching fraud with ties to organised crime, possibly with international connections.

At the time of his arrest, the man was believed to have been using an “IMSI-catcher”, a telephone eavesdropping device used for intercepting mobile phone traffic and tracking location data.

He has from the start rejected the espionage allegations, according to his lawyer. AFP

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