Iranian-born brothers face charges of spying for Russia’s GRU intelligence services in Sweden

Image of binoculars with Russian flag in its lenses.

Image of binoculars with Russian flag in its lenses. Credit: AlexLMX/

Prosecutors in Sweden have charged two Iranian-born brothers with spying for Russia’s GRU intelligence services.

In a statement on Friday, November 11, from Sweden’s National Security Unit chief prosecutor Per Lindqvist, it was revealed that two Iranian-born brothers face charges of allegedly spying for Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.

The two men were identified as 42-year-old Peyman Kia, and 35-year-old Payam Kia. They stand accused of carrying out espionage activities over a 10-year period in the Scandinavian country. One of the brothers even worked for the Swedish domestic intelligence agency.

“It has been a complex investigation concerning a crime that is very difficult to investigate and the suspicion concerns very serious criminality directed against Sweden’s intelligence and security system”, said Lindqvist in his statement.

He continued: “The information that has been obtained, transmitted, and divulged, could, by the fact that if it comes into the hands of a foreign power, result in detriment to Sweden’s security”. Information in the preliminary investigation is secret and further details could not be divulged he explained.

Charges of aggravated espionage have been brought against both men. Another charge of alleged gross unauthorised handling of secret information was also brought against one of them. If found guilty and convicted, they face up to life imprisonment, which in the Swedish penal system means a minimum prison sentence of between 25 and 30 years.

Both men allegedly passed information ‘jointly’ to the GRU in the period between September 28, 2011, and September 20, 2021, according to their charge sheet. This data was acquired after an investigation by Sweden’s domestic security service, SAPO, into the one brother’s work with the country’s military and domestic intelligence agency.

The statement pointed out that the other brother “helped with the contacts with Russia and the GRU, including matters of the surrender of information and receipt of compensation”. It also revealed that after finding out that his brother had been arrested, Payam Kia: “dismantled and broke a hard drive which was later found in a trash can”, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at