Ex-chairman convicted of fraud over Swedish soccer club Ostersunds' funds

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The former chairman of Swedish soccer club Ostersunds FK was sentenced to jail on Tuesday after being convicted of siphoning off around $1.56 million (£1.21 million) to the team, mainly from a municipal housing company where he was CEO.

Daniel Kindberg, who denies any wrongdoing, and two others were found guilty of charges of accounting fraud and breach of trust, between 2013 and 2017. Kindberg, who was sentenced to three years in jail, said he would appeal.

Ostersunds FK enjoyed a meteoric rise under Kindberg’s chairmanship, from 2010 until his arrest last year, climbing from an amateur league in 2011 to the top tier of Swedish football in 2015.

The side won the Swedish Cup in 2017 and made it to the knock out phase of the Europa League in 2018, where they were eliminated by English side Arsenal.

“I am innocent,” Kindberg told reporters at a news conference, adding the verdict handed down by the Angermanland district court was a scandal.

“It contains pure fallacies, things that are just made up and it has to be very unusual in the history of Swedish justice that something like this is delivered.”

Kindberg and the two other men were ordered to pay around 13 million Swedish crowns ($1.35 million) in compensation to the companies they defrauded.

Niclas Lidstrom, a spokesman for the club, said they had no comment to make on the case, adding that Tuesday’s verdict was not directed at Ostersunds FK.

Reporting by Colm Fulton; Editing by Simon Johnson and Alison Williams