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It was one of European soccer's most heartwarming stories, an unconventional club from a sleepy city in central Sweden making an eight-year journey from the amateur ranks to beating Arsenal in the Europa League.

But was the remarkable rise of Ostersund built on illegal foundations?

In a case that has rocked Swedish sport in recent months, Daniel Kindberg, the larger-than-life former chairman of Ostersund who is regarded as the mastermind behind the team's success, is heading to court for a trial in which he is accused of serious financial crimes.

The basic premise? Kindberg is alleged to have helped funnel 11.8 million kronor ($1.3 million) of taxpayers' money into the club in an elaborate scheme that involved two other men and three companies — one being the municipality's housing corporation for which Kindberg was chief executive.

Kindberg could go to jail for a maximum of six years, according to the Swedish Economic Crime Authority. Ostersund could lose its place in the top league in Sweden. A small soccer club's great achievement, which was celebrated and enjoyed across the continent, might be tainted.

"As good as it was for the Ostersund brand with this fairy tale of the OFK team going into Europe," Ostersund's mayor, Bosse Svensson, told The Associated Press, "this is just as bad."

Kindberg, who denies the charges, was arrested a year ago and has stood down from his role as Ostersund chairman.

The case has both shocked and polarized the natives of this remote city — located 300 miles (480 kilometers) northwest of Stockholm and with a population of around 50,000 — that is better known for its winter sports than its soccer.


Six people appeared in a New Zealand court Monday on charges they illegally redistributed the video a gunman livestreamed as he shot worshippers at two mosques last month.

Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll denied bail to businessman Philip Arps and an 18-year-old suspect who both were taken into custody in March. The four others are not in custody.

The charge of supplying or distributing objectionable material carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. Arps, 44, is scheduled to next appear in court via video link on April 26.

The 18-year-old suspect is charged with sharing the livestream video and a still image of the Al Noor mosque with the words “target acquired.” He will reappear in court on July 31 when electronically monitored bail will be considered.

Police prosecutor Pip Currie opposed bail for the 18-year-old suspect and said the second charge, involving the words added to the still image, was of significant concern.

New Zealand’s chief censor has banned both the livestreamed footage of the attack and the manifesto written and released by Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who faces 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges in the March 15 attacks.



Court in Britain finds WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange guilty of breaching his bail conditions.

Police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday, after the South American nation decided to revoke the political asylum that had given him sanctuary for almost seven years.

London police said they were invited into the embassy by Ecuador’s ambassador. Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped.

Assange has been under U.S. Justice Department scrutiny for years for Wikileaks’ role in publishing thousands of government secrets and was an important figure in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe as investigators examined how WikiLeaks obtained emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Democratic groups.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said his government made a “sovereign decision” to revoke Assange’s political asylum due to “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life.”

“Today I announce that that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video released on Twitter.

Video posted online by Ruptly, a news service of Russia Today, showed several men in suits carrying Assange out of the embassy building and loading him into a police van while uniformed British police officers formed a passageway. Assange sported a full beard and slicked-back grey hair.



The Czech Republic’s highest court says a former justice minister violated the rights of an alleged Russian hacker by allowing his extradition to the U.S. before a separate asylum case was finalized.

Yevgeniy Nikulin is accused of hacking computers at LinkedIn, Dropbox and other American companies in 2012, compromising the personal information of millions of Americans.

The Constitutional Court said Tuesday that then Justice Minister Robert Pelikan allowed Nikulin’s extradition before his asylum request went through the court system. Nikulin was later denied asylum. He was extradited to the U.S. in March 2018.

Pelikan is no longer justice minister and won’t face any punishment. The Czechs arrested Nikulin in Prague in cooperation with the FBI in October 2016. He denies the charges against him.



The Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the release of police documents on thousands of killings of suspects in the president’s anti-drug crackdown, in a ruling that human rights groups said could shed light on allegations of extrajudicial killings.

Supreme Court spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the court ordered the government solicitor-general to provide the police reports to two rights groups which had sought them. The 15-member court, whose justices are meeting in northern Baguio city, has yet to rule on a separate petition to declare President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign unconstitutional.

Solicitor-General Jose Calida had earlier agreed to release the voluminous police documents to the court but rejected the requests of the two groups, the Free Legal Assistance Group and the Center for International Law, arguing that such a move would undermine law enforcement and national security.

The two groups welcomed the court order. “It’s a big step forward for transparency and accountability,” said Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, who heads the Free Legal Assistance Group.

He said the documents will help the group of human rights lawyers scrutinize the police-led crackdown that was launched when Duterte came to office in mid-2016, and the massive number of killings that the president and police say occurred when suspects fought back and endangered law enforcers, Diokno said.

“This is an emphatic statement by the highest court of the land that it will not allow the rule of law to be trampled upon in the war on drugs. It is a very important decision,” said Joel Butuyan, president of the Center for International Law.

“These documents are the first step toward the long road to justice for the petitioners and for thousands of victims of the ‘war on drugs’ and their families,” Butuyan said.

More than 5,000 mostly poor drug suspects have died in purported gunbattles with the police, alarming Western governments, U.N. rights experts and human rights watchdogs. Duterte has denied ordering illegal killings, although he has publicly threatened drug suspects with death.

The thousands of killings have sparked the submission of two complaints of mass murder to the International Criminal Court. Duterte has withdrawn the Philippines from the court.

After holding public deliberations on the two groups’ petitions in 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the solicitor-general to submit documents on the anti-drug campaign, including the list of people killed in police drug raids from July 1, 2016, to Nov. 30, 2017, and documents on many other suspected drug-linked deaths in the same period that were being investigated by police.


South Korean police on Thursday arrested K-pop singer Jung Joon-young over allegations that he illegally shared sexually explicit videos of women taken without their knowledge or consent.

The Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant for Jung hours after he appeared at a hearing and apologized to the victims and to "everyone who has showed affection for me." He was later escorted to a police station in downtown Seoul in handcuffs.

People involved in scandals in South Korea often issue public apologies even as they maintain their innocence.

Jung was first questioned by police last week about allegations that he secretly filmed his sexual encounters and shared them in private group chats with his friends.

Police are also investigating another K-pop star, Seungri, who soared to international stardom as a member of the group Big Bang, over suspicions that he attempted to arrange unlawful sexual services for his business investors.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency requested an arrest warrant for Jung on Monday through state prosecutors. The scandal has caused an uproar in South Korea, where women are increasingly speaking out against what they describe as a culture of misogyny with the rampant spread of intimate photos and videos taken by hidden cameras, which they say have women living in constant anxiety and distress.


A Thai court said Thursday that it will decide whether to dissolve a political party that broke tradition by nominating a member of the royal family as its candidate for prime minister in next month's general election.

The Constitutional Court made the announcement a day after the Election Commission recommended that the Thai Raksa Chart Party be dissolved for its Feb. 8 nomination of Princess Ubolratana Mahidol.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a royal order hours after his sister's nomination, stating that the nomination was inappropriate and unconstitutional because the monarchy was above politics. The party responded by professing its loyalty to the monarch and accepting his order.

Dissolving the party would likely increase already sharp political divisions and deepen concerns about the fairness of next month's poll.

The Constitutional Court said in a statement that the charges are being forwarded to the party, which will have seven days to respond. It scheduled the next hearing for Feb. 27.

The Election Commission said the party should be dissolved because its candidate was "in conflict with the system of rule of democracy with king as head of state."
Ubolratana's bid to become prime minister was particularly notable because she allied herself with Thai Raksa Chart, part of the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 military coup and is loathed by many royalists and others in the country's traditional establishment, who accuse him of corruption and disrespect for the monarchy.

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