Tehran releases Swedish Oriflame employee
today Nov 5, 2010
STOCKHOLM, Nov 4, 2010 AFP © - Tehran has released a Swedish citizen held since August on suspicion that he and his employer, the Oriflame cosmetics firm, tried to harm Iran's security, Sweden's foreign ministry said Thursday.
The Swedish-Iranian man was "released on bail early this week. He has left Iran," ministry spokeswoman Cecilia Julin told AFP.
Iranian authorities shut down the Tehran office of Swedish direct-sales cosmetics company Oriflame on August 22, arresting five of its employees amid allegations that the firm was running a pyramid scheme and was possibly backed by a spy agency.
A week later, Iran's Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi accused the firm of trying to harm Iran's security.
"Oriflame intended to fight the (Iranian) system. There are no economic reasons behind the company," he was quoted by state television as telling reporters at the Imam Khomeini mausoleum in Tehran.
According to Oriflame, which flatly rejects the accusations, four of the five people arrested have now been released, including the one Swedish citizen, who had returned to the Scandinavian country.
Neither Julin nor Oriflame would provide the man's name or reveal details of how much bail had been paid to secure his release.
"For us, he's a Swedish citizen, so the case is treated as a consular case," Julin said, explaining how Stockholm had handled the case.
However, she said, Swedish officials were never "granted the consular right to meet him because Iranian authorities said he was an Iranian citizen and they don't recognize the double citizenship."
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