HARNOSAND, Sweden (AP) — The man regarded as the mastermind behind the rise of Swedish soccer team Ostersund was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for serious financial crimes.

The northern Sweden Angermanland Court said Daniel Kindberg was guilty of funneling millions of kronor in taxpayer money into the club in a scheme that involved two other men and three companies, one being the Ostersund municipality’s housing corporation for which Kindberg was chief executive.

The two others — Hakan Nilsson and Mikael Carlqvist — were sentenced to jail sentences of 2 years and 2 1/2 years, respectively.

Deputy prosecutor Peter Jonsson told Swedish broadcaster SVT “the prison sentence was the reasonable penalty.”

All three were ordered to pay damages to two of the involved companies, including the housing corporation, amounting to about 13 million kronor ($1.4 million) in total. All three pleaded not guilty.

Kindberg also was banned from doing business for five years. However, the Swedish FA said Ostersund will not face any sanctions because the statute of limitations for hearing a complaint had expired.

Advertising

Kindberg said the verdict was “a legal scandal,” and would be appealed. “I am innocent,” Kindberg added.

During the trial in the town of Harnosand, the prosecution demanded he get four years in jail.

When Kindberg was club chairman, Ostersund rose from the amateur ranks in 2011 to Sweden’s top league in 2015. It won the Swedish Cup in 2017 under manager Graham Potter, who is now in charge of Premier League club Brighton.

Ostersund qualified for the Europa League, where it advanced to the knockout stage before losing to Arsenal despite winning the second leg 2-1 at Emirates Stadium.

The remote city is 480 kilometers (300 miles) northwest of Stockholm and is better known for its winter sports than its soccer.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports