The identity of the false convict was discovered only when he'd been released on probation after serving about two-thirds of his friend's sentence "sometime in 2008 or 2009," Elisabeth Lager of Sweden's Prison and Probation Service said.
Lager said the in-lieu convict came to serve the sentence with a false ID - a driving license in the name of the smuggler friend but with his photograph. She declined to name either man or give more details about the switch.
An international arrest warrant was issued for the real convict earlier this year, Lager said, but declined to comment on why it took police more than three years after the switch was discovered to issue the warrant. It was not clear if the smuggler's friend would be punished for misleading prison authorities and assuming a false identity.
The convict, who never served his term, was sentenced for a series of smuggling offences in southwestern Sweden in 2008. Several media reports said he had fled to Asia and had paid his friend for his "prison-sitting" service.