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Tsunami phone data deleted early

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09:59 CEST+02:00
Records of telephone calls made from Sweden's Government Offices during the tsunami were deleted six months early, it has been revealed.

Usually all telephone data is kept for a year. But after the commission investigating the government's response to the tsunami asked Göran Persson's closest advisor, Lars Danielsson, if he called the foreign ministry following the catastrophe, data from 4,500 telephones was erased, reported Svenska Dagbladet on Friday.

When the media asked for lists of phone calls, they were told that the lists no longer existed.

The senior legal advisor in Government Offices, Bengt Nordqvist, explained the deletion by saying that there had been a "thinning out" of data that was no longer needed. The fact that the storage time was then put back to 12 months was explained by the fact that the reduction had caused problems.

"There's nothing here which surprises me now," said the Centre Party's Kerstin Lundgren, a member of the parliamentary constitutional committee.

"It's not the only area where it is known that the government has not intended to clarify matters - rather they have muddied the investigation that we and others have chosen to carry out."

Danielsson was heavily criticised for giving inconsistent accounts of his actions following the tsunami catastrophe. At issue was his claim to the official Catastrophe Commission inquiry that he made three telephone calls to foreign ministry official Hans Dahlgren during 26th December 2004.

Dahlgren says the calls never took place. At two further hearings Danielsson changed his account. Then on August 30th this year, under intense pressure, Danielsson resigned.

The telephone records would have shown whose account of events on the day of the tsunami was correct.

"It's part of the unbelievable story of the telephone calls and what happened on December 26th - there are just questions and very limited answers," said Kerstin Lundgren to TT.

"I have reported Göran Persson to the Constitutional Committee because he had the highest responsibility to clarify what happened. Nobody from the government, not least the prime minister, was interested in that," she said.

Lundgren added that it now seems unlikely that the issue would ever be fully resolved.

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