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Swedish Letter bomber jailed for six years

A man has been sentenced to six and a half years’ imprisonment for sending a potentially lethal homemade bomb to a Bitcoin company in London, following a joint investigation by the Met Police and Swedish authorities.

Jermu Michael Salonen, 43 of Gullspång, Sweden sent the viable device in a padded envelope to two employees of Cryptopay, at an office block in Hackney.

A man working at the office block began opening the envelope on 8 March 2018, not realising that it contained a bomb capable of harming or even killing. Fortunately, he did not open the parcel fully as he became suspicious of the contents. Instead, he called police and specialist officers were sent to examine and make safe the device.

The matter was then referred to the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, who began investigating.

Detectives interviewed staff, discovering the parcel had been delivered months previously, around November 2017. Cryptopay was not based in the office block although it had previously used the services of an accountancy firm there, so the package had remained unopened for five months.

Forensic specialists carried out a detailed examination of the device, recovering a number of DNA traces. None were a match for any held on UK databases so police contacted Interpol to request that member countries check their systems.

Through these enquiries, it was identified that the DNA matched those of Salonen, who was known to Swedish authorities.

The Swedish authorities arrested Salonen on 12 May 2018 in relation to this incident and a number of malicious letters sent to high-profile individuals in Sweden and one in London. The letter, sent to a businessman in London and containing a harmless white powder, was intercepted by authorities at a Swedish sorting office.

Swedish authorities, supported by the Met Counter Terrorism Command searched Salonen’s address, recovering numerous bomb components.

The Met Police made enquiries with Cryptopay to establish a motive for Salonen’s actions but could only identify one possible reason for his actions: in August 2017, Salonen, a customer of Cryptopay, had emailed their customer services team asking them to change his password and send him a new one but they refused as this contravened their privacy policy.

Today, a judge in Sweden found Salonen guilty of attempted murder for sending the bomb. He was also convicted for sending a number of malicious letters, for which he was sentenced to a further six months’ imprisonment.

Commander Clarke Jarrett, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Salonen seemingly made and sent a device that had the capability to seriously harm and even kill over something as inconsequential as a change of password.

“Fortunately the bomb did not detonate. It was due to sheer luck that the recipient ripped opened the package in the middle rather than using the envelope flap which would have activated the device”

“Our specialist officers ensured the bomb was made safe, then skilled counter terrorism experts set to work identifying the culprit. Working quickly with Interpol, within a month they had identified Salonen as a suspect. They then assisted the Swedish authorities by providing essential evidence for the prosecution’s case and supporting witnesses from the UK to attend the trial, where they gave evidence.”