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Claus Hugo Strandberg is a target in HITMAN™. He is a Swedish figure who has to be assassinated in the mission A Gilded Cage.
Claus Strandberg is the former CEO of Morocco's largest private bank. Accused of billion-dollar investment fraud against the Moroccan people, he is currently under siege inside the Swedish Consulate in Marrakesh. Strandberg grew up in an ordinary middle class family in Lund, Sweden. As a teenager he showed all the signs of a high functioning sociopath: charming, charismatic, extroverted, and above all, trust-invoking and inspiring, a born leader and a first-rate charlatan. Strandberg studied economics in Stockholm, but never graduated. Instead, he created an elaborate web of fake, stellar academic credentials including a business MBA and a PhD in macroeconomics from the non-existing "Kronstadt University".
He soon landed a prestigious job with a powerful UK investment bank. However, when his employers began questioning his credentials, Strandberg cunningly paid a Hollywood actress to impersonate an official of the fake university to "verify" his degrees.
Strandberg moved on to a lucrative job with a Chinese hedge fund where his bold and borderline illegal risk management strategies became the stuff of legend. He married and later divorced a Chinese woman, and when she died from cancer a decade later, Strandberg cynically conned his estranged teenage daughter out of her inheritance.
In 2005 he assumed the position as CEO of Morocco's largest private bank but could not resist making some illegal money on the side. He launched a complicated version of a classic Ponzi scheme and over the next 12 years embezzled billions of dollars from his criminal activities to the public.
Strandberg was eventually arrested for his financial crimes. Before he could be brought to trial, the police convoy transporting him was intercepted in a violent operation by a covert military team serving General Reza Zaydan. He was subsequently handed over to the Swedish consulate, where he took refuge, triggering nationwide civil unrest and precipitating the events of A Gilded Cage.
Claus Strandberg comes across as jovial, energetic and charismatic. Like all corporate elite and high-functioning sociopaths, he is persuasive, appears trustworthy and disciplined, and has the ability to make you feel the most important person in the world. However, he will cheerfully rob you blind, seeing human interaction mostly as a game of attrition, where winner takes all. Strandberg has eidetic (photographic) memory and can recognize most of the regular personnel of the consulate down to its lowliest workers. It is stated in dialogue among the consulate staff that he comes across as quite pleasant, shaking everyone's hands and memorizing everyone's faces and names, even the cleaning staff (hence why he can see through the janitor disguise.) One of them remarks that while he seems friendly, this is likely how sociopaths operate, presenting an agreeable demeanor in order to gain the trust of future victims.
- His estranged daughter was named Eva, and Claus divorced her mother shortly after she was born.
- Pam Kingsley stated that Claus was CEO of AMB, Morocco's largest private bank, for 7 years although his in-game bio claims he was CEO for 12. She also mentions his arrest was 3 weeks before his death.
- Claus, Reza Zaydan, and Swedish consul Erik Olander all have mysterious paymasters known only as "Heralds", who have previous experience overthrowing governments and who disapproved of Claus' fraud. This is the first mention of Heralds in the trilogy, and they're later revealed to be messengers for Providence, liaising between the Constant and regular operatives.