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Calls for Ringholm to resign

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09:57 CEST+02:00
The controversy over untaxed wages at Enskede IK football club has led to calls for the resignation of Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister (and former Enskede chairman) Bosse Ringholm.

Swedish Radio's Ekot programme reported on Wednesday that a trainer at Enskede was paid untaxed wages. The programme produced a secret contract between the club and the trainer.

The trainer allegedly received 50,000 kronor a year plus a bonus for every league point, but only 18,000 kronor was declared to the tax office, according to Ekot.

Ringholm was finance minister and Enskede chairman at the time the contract was signed.

A number of leading opposition politicians are now calling for Ringholm to go, including Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund.

"Up to now when I've been asked whether he should resign, I've said no, but after the latest developments I think he should. He's a burden for Sweden," said Hägglund.

Prime Minister Göran Persson says he is standing by his deputy.

"I do this on the basis that the authorities will follow up this information that Ekot has produced, and find out what is behind it," Persson told news agency TT.

"Until then I have no reason to do anything other than rely on my deputy prime minister."

Persson added that he had spoken with Ringholm, who had sworn that he knew nothing about the contract, and that the document seemed peculiar.

Ringholm himself says that neither he nor the board of Enskede knew about the contract until now.

"The club's policy is clear. We pay tax and follow the rules," he said to TT.

"If someone has then gone behind the back of the board and done something else, then I have had no knowledge of this."

Ringholm admits that regardless of what the board knew, it still had a responsibility.

"One always has responsibility for what happens in an association," he said.

Now the Social Democrat chairwoman of the Swedish parliament's tax committee is calling for a ban on ministers sitting on the boards of companies or associations.

"It is naturally very difficult as chairman to check what is going on all the way along the line, so it would be good for the prime minister to consider how he wants to act in situations such as this."

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