But no-one is commenting.
Things like this don't happen too often, or at least they're not always exposed. This guy just happened to get caught and he'll soon pay a far bigger price than anything his handlers paid. Reuters reports a Swedish man has been arrested under suspicion of handing information regarding Volvo and truck maker Scania to a Russian diplomat. The unidentified man previously worked as a consultant for several Swedish companies and instead of actually doing that job, he stole and then sold information to Russia, one of America's main two main adversaries. China is considered the second.
"The man was apprehended whilst meeting a Russian diplomat where he had just received 27,800 Swedish crowns ($3,360) from the diplomat," the Swedish prosecutor said.
Volvo refused to comment on the report and, not surprisingly, neither has Russia. It would deny the charges anyway. What exactly Russian intelligence wanted from Volvo remains unclear. What we do know is that Volvo, whose parent company is China's Geely, has embarked on major expansion plans involving electric vehicles with advanced technologies.
The automaker's sole electric vehicle, the Volvo XC40 Recharge, will soon be joined by others. Volvo pledged last December it will soon only build and sell EVs, possibly by as soon as 2030. It's also continuing to develop more safety and autonomous technologies, and they have tremendous value.
Russia currently has four major automakers, Lada Vesta, UAZ, GAZ, and Aurus Senat, all of which would stand to gain from acquiring some of Volvo's tech secrets.
Corporate espionage is nothing new. American authorities have accused China of doing the same in regards to high-tech companies, and this latest instance in Sweden should serve as an additional warning. Russia's auto sector has never obtained global sales at the level of America's or Europe's, but many Chinese automakers are actively pursuing this goal. Geely is clearly one of them but others are not in the same position and are probably willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead.