A man suspected of being behind a mail bomb sent to digital currency firm CryptoPay is facing trial today. In addition to attempted murder, Michael Salonen also stands accused of sending threatening letters to Swedish politicians.
Salonen Allegedly Targeted CryptoPay with a Mail Bomb and Sent Death Threat to MPs
Michael Salonen’s trial will begin at Stockholm District Court today.
The 42-year-old man stands charged with sending an explosive device and threatening letters. He was arrested at Stockholm’s international airport after returning to Sweden from Thailand this May.
The mail bomb to London-based CryptoPay was sent last August. According to the charge sheet, reported by APNews, the letter bomb was addressed to company employees George Basiladze and Dmitrii Guniashov. It was sent to the digital currency payments service company under care of The Accountancy Cloud.
CryptoPay co-founder Wesley Rashid opened the package. Fortunately, the device failed and no one was injured in the effort.
Evidence from the suspects computer reveals that he had held an account with CryptoPay and also searched for instructions on how to build an explosive device. He is charged with the attempted murder of four individuals in relation to this offence.
Salonen also stands accused of sending threatening letters to members of government and other high-profile figures in his native Sweden. In a report by local news publication, The Local, Salonen is suspected of targeting 26 individuals. Of this number, 21 are cabinet ministers.
The ministers targeted include Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, Social Affairs Minister Annika Strandhäll, Education Minister Gustav Fridolin, and Justice and Interior Minister Morgan Johansson. They each received letters at their home addresses. These contained the words, “you will soon be dead,” along with a suspicious powdered substance. After authorities tested said substance, it turned out to be harmless.
For now, it’s unclear why Salonen might have committed the acts described above. Granted, the suspect probably has some form of grievance with how the nation of Sweden is governed. However, the decision to target a cryptocurrency company in London is curious.
Previous attacks against cryptocurrency firms have included kidnappings or digital security compromises. Both of these crimes aim to enrich the perpetrator.
However, the evidence from this case suggests that the crude effort was not committed for financial gain since no demands were made. The only additional known information about the crime comes from the APNews report. It states that Salonen had attempted to change his password with CryptoPay’s support unit and his request was denied. Such a motive does not adequately explain such a heinous attempted crime though.
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