The man, who works at the Kuwaiti embassy, was one of five men stopped by police in what was the first such swoop in almost five years.
According to Aftonbladet, the man was spotted at around 10pm driving his Mercedes, complete with diplomatic licence plates, down Malmskillnadsgatan – Stockholm’s nearest approximation to a red light district.
He stopped and had a short conversation with a known prostitute, before she hopped in the car and they drove to the well-to-do area of Lidingö.
Undercover officers followed the car and stopped it as it was pulling into the driveway of a house in the area.
As the man was interviewed later on by police, it emerged that he works at the Kuwaiti embassy. Despite the fact that a law introduced in Sweden in 1999 forbids the soliciting of sexual services, the man is protected by the rules on diplomatic immunity.
In response, police sources told Aftonbladet that they intended to send a report of the incident to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking to Svenska Dagbladet on Thursday, the ministry’s press officer Nina Ersman confirmed that the police’s hands were tied.
“In such a case the person cannot be prosecuted,” said Ersman, who said that only with serious crimes could the diplomatic immunity rules be avoided.
“All we can do is call the person up and inform them that this is inappropriate behaviour.”
Police apparently gave the woman a lift back to central Stockholm where they resumed their watch. By the end of the evening a further four men had been caught, one of whom, noted Aftonbladet, “had a baby seat in the back of his car”.
The police’s ability to clamp down on street prostitution has been hampered by a lack of resources, said inspector Anders Gripenlöf.
“In 2001 we had raids almost every month – if we had continued with that there would be a lot fewer women on the streets today,” he told the tabloid.