Illegal dumping: Sweden's “garbage queen” indicted

Illegal disposal

It's the biggest environmental scandal in recent Swedish history: The once highly praised waste disposal company NMT Think Pink allegedly disposed of tens of thousands of tonnes of waste illegally. Charges have now been filed against eleven suspects. Among them is company founder and self-proclaimed “trash queen” Fariba Vankor.

Since 2015, NMT Think Pink has allegedly illegally removed and buried garbage and construction waste at a total of 21 locations in 15 municipalities in central Sweden. The scandal was exposed in 2020. The investigation file now has 45,000 pages. The process is expected to last several weeks and more than 150 people are expected to be questioned as witnesses, Swedish media reported.

According to “G√∂teborgs-Posten” newspaper, the amount of illegally dumped waste is 200,000 tons. In their investigations, the investigating officers found harmful arsenic, lead, zinc, copper, petroleum products and dioxins in many places. In 2019, a fire broke out in a warehouse where NMD Think Pink stored industrial waste in Gulzpang Municipality. Firefighters brought the fire under control two weeks later.

Eleven defendants

A total of eleven people have been charged. Five of them must answer for serious environmental crimes. They are accused of disposing of waste in such a way as to cause environmental pollution “injurious to or harmful to human health, animals or plants”. The punishment ranges from six months to six years.

The five accused include the company's director, Vancore, who identified herself as Bella Nilsen, and her ex-husband Thomas Nilsen. Vankor's lawyer, Jan Dipling, denied the allegations to Swedish media. His client denies any wrongdoing. He criticized the slow progress of the investigation.

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Sex club manager and startup founder

Nilsson was born in Tehran in 1969 and came to Sweden as a teenager in the mid-1980s. He worked as a clothes cleaner and managed a sex club. She became known to the Swedish public in 1998 when she published a book about her life story under the name Isabella Johansson.

Start-up NMD Think Pink became one of Sweden's fastest growing companies in the 2010s. In 2019, the company had sales equivalent to almost twelve million euros. On her blog, Vancore described herself as the “trash queen.”

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