Pirate Bay founder's detention extended as tax hack investigation continues

A Swedish court has ordered that Gottfrid Svartholm Warg be detained two more weeks while prosecutors decide whether to charge him

Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg will remain in detention for at least two more weeks while Swedish prosecutors investigate his alleged involvement in the hacking of IT company Logica, a Swedish court ruled Friday.

Svartholm Warg was arrested in Cambodia on Aug. 30 and subsequently deported to Sweden. Swedish authorities arrested him on Sept. 11 on suspicion of hacking, although he has not been charged. On Sept. 14 a court ordered that he be detained for another two weeks.

This week Henrik Olin, the public prosecutor dealing with the case, asked the court to extend Svartholm Warg's detention.

"The court decided to prolong the detention for another two-week period," Olin said Friday on leaving the courtroom.

"The investigation is ongoing," he said, referring to the theft of sensitive tax records for people with protected identities from a government IT contractor, Logica.

"He is suspected of this breach of data security. The court ruled that there is a risk he could affect the evidence in the investigation, and that there is a risk he could be committing crimes again," he said.

When Svartholm Warg was arrested in Cambodia, many thought it was because of his role in creating the Pirate Bay. He and the other founders of the popular torrent-tracking site were found guilty of offenses relating to copyright infringement, fined and sentenced to prison. Svartholm Warg did not attend an appeal hearing, pleading illness, and moved to Cambodia, a country with which Sweden does not have an extradition treaty.

No charges have yet been made against him in the Logica case, Olin said.

"According to the Swedish system, when the preliminary investigation is finished, I as prosecutor will decide whether to prosecute him. [...] In the Swedish system it is quite usual for people to be detained on this legal ground, and it gives me the possibility to prevent him from having contact with other people."

Olin said it is unlikely that he will have completed his preliminary investigation within the next two weeks, and so expects to return to the court to ask for another extension to Svartholm Warg's detention.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

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