Minister accused over healthcare shares

Sweden's minister for local government and financial markets, Mats Odell, has become the second government minister to face scrutiny for his shareholdings.

Social Democrat MP Hans Hoff has reported Odell, a Christian Democrat, to the Riksdag’s Constitution Committee because he owns a large number of shares in a private healthcare company that sells services to local health authorities.

Hoff claims that Odell’s shareholdings could pose a conflict of interest if the government takes decisions that benefit private healthcare companies at the same time as he is minister with responsibility for the local authorities.

“Such a clear mix of private financial interest and ministerial responsibility has as far as I know never cropped up in Sweden before. I think that this situation is unfortunate and unsustainable,” he wrote in a press release.

Foreign minister Carl Bildt recently agreed to sell his shares in Vostok Nafta, a company that owns part of Russian energy giant Gazprom, after similar allegations of a potential conflict of interest.