• Sweden edition
 

Corruption unit to investigate Mona Sahlin

Published: 02 Nov 2010 17:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Nov 2010 17:06 GMT+01:00

Sweden's National Anti-Corruption Unit (Riksenheten mot korruption) is to investigate whether to open a case against Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin, who accepted complimentary tickets to the Stockholm Open.

The head of the unit, Gunnar Stetler, has confirmed that he is to have a look at information that Sahlin attended the five-day ATP tennis tour event as a guest of the organizers.

"As the media has brought the matter to my attention, I am going to analyse it closer to see if there are grounds for an investigation," said Stetler to the TT news agency.

Mona Sahlin was last week scathing in her criticism of the Moderates' new party secretary Sofia Arkelsten for allowing herself to be bought overseas trips, including a study trip to the south of France funded by the oil firm Shell.

"I think that she has shown terribly poor judgement. And obviously more than once. It is now up to the Moderates' leader to show if he thinks it is reasonable to have a party secretary which has done so," Sahlin said regarding the Arkelsten revelations last week.

Four days after forwarding her opinion on Sofia Arkelsten, Sahlin was in attendance at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm to watch Swiss star Roger Federer win the final, as a non-paying guest.

The final was the fifth consecutive day that the Social Democrat leader and former minister had allowed herself to be treated to complimentary tickets, together with a guest. The total value of her Stockholm Open treat amounted to 7,500 kronor ($1,130).

Among other guests invited by the tennis tournament's organizers, were Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Sverker Göransson, but he elected to pay for his tickets himself.

Mona Sahlin has however defended her decision to accept the complimentary tickets.

"There is a considerable difference between an oil firm paying for a trip and hotel for an politician engaged in environmental issues in order to have an influence in a political issue," Sahlin said on Tuesday.

When asked whether she looked forward to the investigation by the anti-corruption unit, Sahlin replied:

"I look forward to the next Stockholm Open and next football international."

Professor Claes Sandgren, chair of the Swedish Institute Against Bribes (Institute Mot Mutor - IMM), and who was critical of Arkelsten's judgement, is not as critical of Sahlin's.

"This benefit comes across as relatively harmless, as it there has been no situation in which influence can be made," he said to the TT news agency.

Sandgren however called for clearer guidelines for the type of complimentary events to which a politician is entitled to accept.

Thomas Wallén at Stockholm Open organizers PR Event, has expressed surprise over the media attention.

"I do not really understand why you can draw attention to such a thing. It is and has been standard practice to have guests of honour at major sporting events," he said.

This is not the first time that Mona Sahlin has been the subject of corruption allegations.

In what later became known as the "Toblerone affair", Sahlin was forced to take a three year break from politics in the mid-1990s after it was revealed she had bought a few thousand dollars worth of personal items, including the famous Swiss chocolate, on her party credit card.

Further investigations showed her personal finances were in disarray with numerous late payments for various outstanding bills.

Sahlin was at the time the party's rising star and a candidate for the leadership after Ingvar Carsson. She eventually took over the party after Göran Persson resigned in the wake of election defeat in 2006.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:57 November 2, 2010 by Irishmanabroad
Anyone done any research into what Sofia was doing in the south of France? 1st one to guess right/research right gets a lolipop from me :)
18:17 November 2, 2010 by Swedesmith
Sex change operation?
18:19 November 2, 2010 by maxbrando
Wait a minute. I thought the fraud unit was just closed bercause of too much work!!! Or is this a "gimme" as they say in golf, and so worthy of attention. Must use the LIFO method of accounting.
18:37 November 2, 2010 by eZee.se
Ah!

So if you are not in power than your goose is cooked but if you are in power like Arkelsten who has accepted various "gifts" and bought an apartment contract in black then sweep it under the carpet ASAP.

Gotta love politics - and the Swedish judicial system.

And as a side note, equality among the sexes? Heck, there isn't even equality among these two women , someone call those nutcases at FI so they can burn some more money!
19:20 November 2, 2010 by Nemesis
I await the results of this investigation with interest.
20:39 November 2, 2010 by Localer
they have nothing to do ? can they put more time to investigates the crime that keep climbing ? for GOD's sake its only invitation to tennis open !!!
20:59 November 2, 2010 by RobinHood
Too right Localer. While a potential serial killer stalks the streets of Malmö, Swedish police prioritise an investigation into free tennis tickets.
21:29 November 2, 2010 by Emmaboda
Face the music lady, you know the rules for politicians. Do you think you are above everyone else?
22:15 November 2, 2010 by glamelixir
Hi there, nobody willing to investigate Reinfeldt's oil connection with Africa????
22:36 November 2, 2010 by AdamVikingen
Lol, probebly some "M" politican that has orderd this, i have followed the news and the only party in Sweden that is Corrupt is "Moderaterna!
23:02 November 2, 2010 by BillyB
she should be banned from politics. only way to stop corruption is to get tough
07:30 November 3, 2010 by jackx123
serves her bloody right after the damning comments she made about arkelsten
11:14 November 3, 2010 by Borilla
Police like the "fraud" investiations. Mona Sahlin doesn't shoot back, at least not with real bullets.

Always nice to see the media being objective. When the party says "Jump", the press asks "How high?". Party says take the heat off Sofia, find something to criticize Mona about, and the press responds with "public outrage".

I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored. Heat on Sofia makes all the others getting freebies uncomfortable.
12:42 November 3, 2010 by Alf Garnett
Wonder if Mona has declared this gift on her tax returns??
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