Ringholm’s club faces tax crime inquiry

The Swedish National Economic Crimes Bureau is to begin a tax crimes inquiry into the sports club Enskede IK, where Deputy Prime Minister Bosse Ringholm was, until recently, chairman, prosecutor Kent Madstedt has told Swedish Television.

Opposition politicians have responded to the news by calling for Ringholm to withdraw from his government role while any inquiry is ongoing.

“Now Ringholm must immediately take ‘time out’ from the government,” said the Liberals’ party secretary Johan Jakobsson in a press release.

“As long as the prosecutor suspects that the minister is responsible for a financial crime, he cannot remain in his role.”

The suspected tax evasion is said to have taken place between 2000 and 2004, when Ringholm was the board chairman of the football club. At the time, he was also Sweden’s minister for finance and sport.

“We shall see if there are any grounds for the information that there have been benefits paid out widely without them having been declared to the tax office,” said Madstedt to TT.

However, Madstedt pointed out that no individual person at Enskede IK is suspected of any crime – yet.

“A preliminary investigation does not have to be directed at an individual – it can be started if there is reason to consider that a crime has been committed. We have not reached the stage where anyone is under probable suspicion,” said Kent Madstedt.

Interviews will now be held with people at the club who will reasonably be expected to know what has happened. Investigators have said that they will also begin looking through documents held by the club.

“The next question will be who is responsible. We’ll begin at the bottom and work our way up.”” said Kent Madstedt.

The Liberal Party’s Johan Jakobsson said that if the legal process revealed that financial crimes had taken place while Ringholm was in charge of the club, then he would have to leave the government permanently.

“You can’t ask people to follow laws if the people who establish the laws don’t follow them themselves,” he wrote.

Should Ringholm resign now? Discuss!

TT/The Local