In a major breakthrough, the head prosecutor of Stockholm has met with Lars Olofsson on the Juicy Fields case and is now also looking into the possibility of prosecuting the ring of people around the scam – aka the “Facilitators”
In news that is bound to create delight or justifiable fear, depending on which side of the Juicy Fields discussion one is on, Swedish lawyer Lars Olofsson has just won a major strategic legal victory that stands to dramatically widen the scope of official investigations of the fraud – and in multiple countries. This will have impact (at minimum) throughout Europe, and undoubtedly the US as well.
Namely, the head public prosecutor in Stockholm has agreed with Olofsson about the scope of the case. As a result, the Prosecutor is looking at the possibility of prosecuting the Juicy Fields facilitators independently.
This is the first time an authority has been interested in broadening the reach of his own investigation to include not just those directly employed by Juicy Fields, but a wide ring of other individuals and companies Olofsson calls “facilitators.” His list now includes over 60 banks, multiple social media platforms and even government agencies supposed to protect the public, and also smaller companies and individuals who knew that Juicy Fields was a scam, but legitimized the company anyway, and benefitted either financially or otherwise in participating, legitimizing or staying silent, allowing the fraud to continue for as long as it did.
This means, by definition, that every cannabis conference that accepted money as well as promoters, every lawyer employed by the company and, depending on their significance, every promoter, and even those who cosponsored conferences or other events with the company knowing that the firm was a scam, are all now firmly in the crosshairs.
Beyond this, there is also the issue of being an accessory after the fact if one does not come forward, now.
In other words, what happens in Sweden will affect investigations and prosecutions (at minimum) all over Europe, especially because the prosecutor is looking for collaboration across national borders.
Significance (In Sweden, Europe and the US)
In Sweden, the public prosecutor (of cities, municipalities or rural regions) has the right to prosecute cases against whomever they have evidence against. It is also a prosecutor who decides whether or not to open a special police investigation. In other words, the prosecutor defines the extent of a police investigation – and what should be investigated – and the police then investigate the same.
About twenty years ago, Swedish law was amended by the legislature to allow the police to be deputized by prosecutors and delegate decisions to the police about the implementation of the investigation, although in turn the police would have to brief the prosecutors about their investigations, and further, if necessary, receive further instructions from the prosecutor.
In the Juicy Fields case, the entire enchilada was instigated in Sweden when an investor (who had lost €30,000) filed a police report about a week after the exit scam. The police decided to try to investigate because of the amount of money involved. Tragically, in January 2023, after about six months of investigation, the police concluded that they were unable to gain enough information to prosecute the criminals directly involved in the scam especially given the international scope of the crime, and the channels through which money was funnelled, and subsequently closed the investigation.
Olofsson was in touch with the Stockholm prosecutor in January at the time of the domestic police decision because he needed a certificate from the prosecutor saying that there was no intention of bringing an indictment. Olofsson required this in order to pursue what are called private prosecutions (led by an independent lawyer or team rather than the authorities).
When the Stockholm prosecutor met with Olofsson and understood how comprehensive the information he has is, and his legal strategy to pursue the facilitators of the scam, beyond employees of the company, he made a unique decision to re-open the police investigation to also investigate the facilitators.
“This means that the companies and people I have identified as accomplices are now the subject of a prosecutor-led police investigation, and as I have unique investigative and information material, the police have now contacted me and are interested in what I have collected and know,” said Olofsson. “I will not cooperate with the police as a lot of the material and information I have is confidential between me and my clients, but I can give the police tips on what to look for and who they should investigate, and of course point out those I have identified as accomplices – including Meta Platforms Inc. and Mark Zuckerberg who is now the subject of the police’s official investigation.”
As an aside, the investigation is very much underway in Germany, particularly Berlin, where the police and public prosecutor have already raided four companies and recovered about €12 million. Beyond this, insolvency proceedings are now well underway, with over 2,000 criminal complaints filed against the company itself. However, given this, it is also highly unlikely that the Berlin prosecutor’s office, for starters, will ignore this latest Swedish development.
What Does This Mean for Other Countries?
Sweden of course was not the centre of the scam. However, the actions of the public prosecutor will not happen in a vacuum only in this country, especially given the investigations now underway against the company itself in Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany (for starters).
In Germany, in particular, this means that every conference cosponsor, and everyone who took money to promote the scam or bring in other investors is also directly in the line of fire right now. Particularly given the fact that many in the industry knew it was a swindle from the start.
Why Whistle-blowers Should Come Forward Now
Whistle-blowing is a very tough thing to do. It is a term that refers to people who have details about a crime, and cooperate with authorities and others investigating and prosecuting the same.
Unfortunately, it also frequently means that whistle-blowers are also retaliated against – starting with being fired. Usually, it is very hard for them to work in the industry they have just come forward to clean up. But that is not an excuse to stay quiet. The cannabis industry itself is in need of a major housecleaning, and as it continues to legitimize, this kind of courage is required by everyone who works in it.
The cannabis industry so far has had numerous scandals over the past few years that touch almost every part of the industry. So far, CannTrust remains the largest international scandal to date (although nobody ever went to jail and charges were dropped last year against executives at the helm at the time of the scandal).
That is not likely to happen here. The Juicy Fields case is far larger, and given the other major crimes involved, will not just fade away so easily. Particularly in a climate where cannabis firms are increasingly being challenged to identify sources of funds (see the current problems Curaleaf is facing in at least one US state for accepting loans from Roman Abramovich). Not to mention the number of cannabis firms who have begun to come forward with details that make it very clear that Juicy Fields was nothing but a Ponzi scheme (if not money laundering). If you have not already, take some time to listen to the excellent Deutsche Welle true crime podcast on the scandal called Cannabis Cowboys.
People are coming forward.
Given the document trail, the witness statements, and other evidence, there is no way that this case can be ignored – and Olofsson’s victory in Stockholm is just one more sign that the kitchen is getting very hot indeed for a wide circle of people who knew, and did nothing, if not accept money to legitimize an enterprise that was, quite obviously, a scam from the beginning.
If you know something, come forward now. And if you are afraid of going to the police, you can also contact Olofsson and his team of investigators directly – and anonymously.