The man running Sweden’s biggest security firm was declared bankrupt this week after his identity was hacked.
Alf Goransson, the company’s 59-year-old chief executive officer since 2007, won an appeal of the July 10 bankruptcy decision by the Stockholm District Court, according to a statement late Wednesday. The perpetrator used the CEO’s identity to seek a loan of an undisclosed amount, after which a bankruptcy application was filed in his name. The identity theft took place in March. Goransson didn’t know he’d been hacked until this week, the company said.
The hack attack “has no effect on the company, other than that our CEO has been declared bankrupt,” spokeswoman Gisela Lindstrand said. “And that will hopefully only last until later today, depending on how soon they can remove the decision.”
But the data theft of a prominent Swedish executive raises questions about security in a society that is leading the way in digitization. Sweden is well ahead of most of the rest of the world in replacing cash with digital payments — even homeless groups there accept credit cards. At the country’s Abba museum, tourists aren’t allowed to pay for anything with cash.
All of this has coincided with a sharp increase in identity fraud. Sweden responded last year by introducing specific legislation to target the development. Goransson’s case was one of 12,800 crimes involving hacked identities reported in Sweden in the first six months of 2017.
Goransson wasn’t informed until after the court’s swift decision to accept the bankruptcy application, a one-page document bearing a signature with little or no resemblance to Goransson’s.
As a consequence of the bankruptcy decision, Goransson was deregistered as chairman of Loomis AB and as board member of Hexpol AB, according to separate statements. Both companies will appeal to get Goransson formally reinstated.