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Persson aide 'takes time out'

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18:47 CEST+02:00
Lars Danielsson, state secretary in the prime minister's office and Göran Persson's closest aide, is to take 'time out', according to a press statement released by Government Offices on Friday afternoon.

"I need to gather myself, take care of my family and reflect on my situation," said Danielsson.

The situation in question has dominated Sweden's headlines for the past week.

Danielsson's whereabouts on 26th December 2004, the day of the tsunami in southeast Asia, have come under close scrutiny amid allegations that he lied about where he was to cover up an affair with colleague Helen Eduards.

Writing in Friday's Svenska Dagbladet, Danielsson maintained that he spent the day at home with his family. But, he says, he visited the Rosenbad government offices twice - once in the morning and once in the afternoon - and spoke with Persson on the phone.

He also said Danielsson writes that the media pressure has hit both him and his family.

"So I'm taking a time out. I have up to 14 weeks' holiday to take."

He added that his decision changes nothing relating to what he has said regarding the events around the time of the tsunami.

Another state secretary, Jan Larsson, will take over Danielsson's role as the prime minister's state secretary on a temporary basis.

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