CANDLEMASS: 'Nothing Has Changed' Following Guitarist's 'Grand Theft' Conviction

Legendary doomers CANDLEMASS have issued a statement regarding the recent reports in the Swedish media that the group's guitarist, Mats "Mappe" Bjrkman, has been sentenced to two years in prison for grand theft. The musician was convicted of stealing CDs worth approximately $490,000 from the distribution warehouse of Entertainment Network Scandinavia AB, where he and an accomplice shipped the CDs to Stockholm retail outlets.

Stated the band: "CANDLEMASS answer to the crap that's been published lately is very simple: NOTHING HAS CHANGED!! The band will record the planned EP, 'Lucifer Rising', in April WITH MAPPE CANDLEMASS will also tour the states WITH MAPPE in May and June and also record the follow-up to 'King of the Grey Islands' this coming autumn WITH MAPPE!!

"Despite what's been said in the press, the band is very optimistic about the future. 2008 and 2009 will be two great years for CANDLEMASS.

"Don't believe everything you read!!"

Suspicions were raised in November 2005 when a music company spotted a discrepancy in Bjrkman's reported sales. A subsequent investigation uncovered evidence that someone had manipulated the warehouse computer on 301 occasions.

Bjrkman initially denied the charges against him, but his accomplice, Stefan Hkansson, has admitted his role in the theft and has implicated his colleague.

The guitarist stated in court that he didn't understand why Hkansson "lied" about his involvement in the theft scheme, suggesting it might be because Hkansson was trying to protect others.

But, based on the evidence, the court concluded that Hkansson had no reason to lie about Bjrkman's role in the scheme and determined that prison was the appropriate punishment for both men.

The agreement between Mats and his accomplice was that they were to split the profits which were estimated to be SEK 1.3 million (approximately $213,000) equally.

Bjrkman's accomplice received a sentence of one year and nine months.

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