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Some Erik Olsen Where “Ollsen”“the lead investigator in charge of investigating the sabotage“of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, did he die before revealing secrets about the investigation? This is what numerous publications, shared several thousand times in several countries since the beginning of October, claim. But he This is a rumor that there is no evidence to date.Neither the Swedish prosecutor’s office in charge of the investigation into the leaks from the Nord Stream gas pipelines, nor the Stockholm police, are aware of an investigator bearing this name or of a suspicious death among the people in charge of the investigations, as they explained to AFP.
“Olsen, found at home. Death by bee sting, cremated in the hours that followed. Tasked with investigating the sabotage of the Nordstream” : since the beginning of October, numerous publications on Facebook, Twitter or Telegram, report the death of a Swedish investigator, named Erik Ollsen. The spelling of his varies from publication to publication: Olsen, Ollsen, Ulsson or Ollson.
A death considered suspicious by many Internet users, while this person is described as “lead investigator” in charge for Sweden of investigating the alleged sabotage, at the end of September, of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea which connect Russia and Europe.
Also referred to as the “deputy head of the Swedish prosecutor’s office” by other publications, “Erik Ollsen” would have succumbed to a “Bee sting“.
Screenshot of a tweet made on October 12, 2022
“The head of the investigation into the sabotage of the Nordstream gas pipeline has just died of a bee sting and was cremated within hours. Who can believe that?“, declares for example this tweet in France published on October 9 and shared more than 1,000 times.
On September 26, four huge gas leaks occurred on the two gas pipelines, strategic installations for the direct transport of Russian gas to Germany, detonations caused according to several countries by underwater detonations. Suspected of being the Source of the leaks, Russia rejects all responsibility and accuses the West.
Swedish justice has begun to investigate to determine the origin of the explosions which reached the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea on September 26. But AFP research did not find any mention of a person bearing the name Erik Ollsen or similar spellings within the Swedish institutions in charge of the investigations.Swedish Prosecution Authoritysaid on October 12 “that no prosecutor in charge of the case [Nord Stream] called Erik Olsson, died of a bee sting”.
“It’s ‘fake news’“, declared the prosecution, while several publications indicated that “Mr. Ollsen” was supposed to be the”deputy Swedish prosecutor’s office” and “prosecutor’s colleagues“would even”already expressed their condolences to his relatives“.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority also pointed out that the investigation into Nord Stream was currently being led by Mats Ljungqvist, quoted in particular in this press release of October 6.
Similarly, the Stockholm police, supposed, according to several publications, to have communicated on this death, declared to AFP on October 12 that they had “no knowledge“of this person and”did not communicate on the subject“.
However, several publications indicated that the Stockholm police had “reported some details about what happened” and had declared that the “Ulsson’s will [sic]” had “was discovered with a request to cremate him immediately in case of death“.
Moreover, none of the internet searches carried out by AFP have found any trace of an Erik Ollsen or Ollsen. Other verification media have come to the same conclusions, like here or here.
A rumor passed by Telegram Russian social network VK
Where does the rumor come from? The vast majority of posts rely on a screenshot of someone’s tweet. Remco Van Velzen of October 8.
That day, this Dutch Internet user, who also shared many pro-Russian tweets about the war in Ukraine, announced the death of “deputy head of the Swedish prosecutor’s office, Erik Ollsen“.
But a few hours later, this same Internet user noted delete this tweet, acknowledging in another tweet hours later that there was no evidence that “Mr. Ollson” [sic] was in charge of the investigation“.
For his part, Van Velzen reported on Twitter having relied on a publication of the Russian social network VK.
This publication of a French-speaking pro-Russian account shared on October 6, which already mentioned the promises of revelation “on the explosion of the Nord Stream pipes“, itself repeated many elements of another Russian publication of October 3 of the account titled “Anti-Russophobe”, and whose allegations have since been shared by multiple other posts.
The Russian post, meanwhile, links to a similar Telegram post from October 3, posted by a Russian account that supports the invasion of Ukraine.
VK and Telegram posts illustrate their misleading message with the same photo of someone believed to be the deceased.
But the original photo, found by AFP through a reverse image search, actually shows a Hungarian politician, Borkai Zsolt, as shown in this article from the Hungarian media “Hungary Today” dated 2019.
The confusion is such that a Norwegian, by the name of Erik Olsen, an expert in marine ecosystems, explained on Twitter on October 11 that he had nothing to do with a supposed Swedish investigator.
Suspicions of sabotage: renewed tensions between Russia and Western countries
The discovery of massive leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in late September sparked renewed tensions between Russia and Western countries, amid war in Ukraine and mutual accusations of sabotage of pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
The first inspections carried out since the beginning of October by the Swedish authorities at the site of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline leaks in the Baltic Sea have “reinforces[é] suspicions of sabotage“, with some “detonations“having caused”significant damage“, announced the Swedish public prosecutor’s office on October 6.
“We can see that there have been detonations near Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone, which have caused extensive damage to the gas pipelines“, had declared in particular the special prosecutor in charge of the investigation Mats Ljungqvist in a press release of the same day.
“Inspections at the scene of the incident reinforced suspicions of aggravated sabotage. Seizures [d’éléments de preuve] were made on site and will be examined“, he added.
Suspected of being at the origin of the explosions, Russia counter-attacked, pointing the United States which in turn denied any responsibility. Speaking at an energy forum in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said severe leaks from Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia and Germany in September were the result of a act of “international terrorism“.
“The beneficiaries are clear (…) Because (this incident) reinforces the geopolitical importance of the remaining gas systems, those which pass through the territory of Poland (…) and Ukraine, and which Russia has built at its expense. But also in the United States, which can now deliver its energy at high prices“, he estimated.
The White House had for its part denounced accusations “ridiculous” against the United States. “We all know Russia has been spreading disinformation for a long time and they are doing it again here.”had commented the spokeswoman for the National Security Council of the White House, Adrienne Watson at the end of September.