A former employee of the Swedish Migration Board has been arrested under suspicion of illegally helping at least 121 Afghan migrants obtain visas, local media reports.
The ex-official and two possible accomplices were apprehended in early morning raids near Stockholm and Gothenburg, prosecutor Arne Fors told Aftonbladet.
The man is suspected of employing a variety of different approaches, including reversing visa application denials, authorizing visas on false grounds, and even approving 21 Afghans who claimed they had been invited by a prominent Swedish company to attend the Swedish Open tennis tournament, supplying documents that were clearly forgeries, according to the Migration Board.
"When deciding on a visa, some checks must be made," Fors explained. "If there is an invitation from any association or company, contact them, to make sure that this is a real invitation."
Some of the Afghans applied for asylum once they reached Sweden.
"Those who have received visas have been able to come to Sweden on them," Fors said. "And when you are in Sweden you can apply for asylum, if you want."
The Migration Board reportedly began investigating the suspect in 2016, and he was later dismissed in 2017 after admitting to incorrectly approving 14 visa applications.
The investigation has now expanded to 121 cases.
"The principal is suspected of gross misconduct, and the others for helping with that crime," Fors said of the three suspects. "Their roles have been clear and we have gained more clarity in the actual course of events."
The ex-official's lawyer maintains that his client is innocent, and only admits to errors in judgment.
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(PHOTO: Ullstein Bild / Getty Images)