If you are suspected of an economic crime
Being suspected of an economic crime does not mean that you have been convicted. The Swedish Economic Crime Authority is responsible for discovering who committed the crime and proving it in court.
In the case of serious crime, suspects have a right to a public defence counsel (a defence lawyer) appointed by the court. The court decides who requires a defence lawyer. No defence lawyer is normally required in cases involving less serious crimes.
What happens after a crime has been reported?
If someone reports a crime or if it is suspected that a crime has been committed, the prosecutor begins a preliminary investigation. The police search for evidence and investigate to ascertain who committed the crime or assisted the perpetrator in the criminal activity.
The police question suspects and witnesses and examine the scene of the crime. They may even carry out raids on premises or use secret listening devices on telephones.
If the criminal investigation shows that there is enough evidence to enable someone to be convicted of the crime, the prosecutor initiates a prosecution and submits a so-called application for a summons to the court. Only then can a trial be held.
Call for questioning
During a criminal investigation, the police and prosecutor need to question both suspects and witnesses to ascertain the facts of the case. A letter is normally sent calling the suspect or witness for questioning, but occasionally a time for questioning by telephone is arranged.
The call states the time and place and the identity of the person who will question you. Report to reception and ask for the person named in the letter. Remember to take your identity documents, e.g. passport or driving licence.
During the questioning you may meet one or two people who are investigating the case. These people are often police officers. You have a right to have your defence lawyer with you during questioning. The police record the questions and answers on paper and when the questioning has concluded you may read through them and approve them.
A tape recorder is used for more complex questioning. You are obliged to attend for questioning. If you are ill, you must inform the Swedish Economic Crime Authority immediately so you can be given a new appointment. People who do not attend questioning voluntarily will be brought in by the police.
If you are prosecuted (defendant)
The prosecutor institutes proceedings at a court if there is sufficient evidence to convict the suspect.
If the prosecutor considers the evidence insufficient, the case is discontinued. The court may only consider the circumstances that the prosecutor presents in the prosecution. The court’s task is to assess whether the prosecutor is able to prove that the accused has committed the alleged crime.
The person accused (suspected) of the crime is known as the defendant.