Freivalds cashes in on controversial flat

Former government minister Laila Freivalds was forced to resign her post in 2000 when her private property dealings were found to be in direct conflict with her public stance. Now the apartment at the centre of the controversy is up for sale, and Freivalds stands to make a tidy profit.

When her four-bedroom rental apartment was converted to a co-operative flat, she and her husband availed themselves of the opportunity to purchase it at a bargain cost of 2 million kronor, Realtid reports. The new asking price is 5 million kronor.

In autumn 2000 Freivalds, then justice minister, came in for enormous criticism when she and her husband bought out their rental flat in Kungsholmen in Stockholm city centre.

As justice minister she had been involved in attempts to hinder the conversion of rental flats. Faced with mounting charges of hypocrisy she was eventually forced to resign.

In 2003, Göran Persson called her back into the government after the assassination of Anna Lindh. But in her new role as foreign minister Freivalds was soon in hot water again for her handling of the tsunami catastrophe in the last days of 2004.

This was not enough to topple her but her shaky ground was further undermined in the spring of 2006 when she faced accusations of intervening to shut down the website of a rival party, the Sweden Democrats.

After the disturbances that followed Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammad cartoons, the far right Sweden Democrats published a previously unseen caricature on its website.

Freivalds denied requesting that the website be shut down. But the perception that her actions had breached constitutional protections regarding press freedom eventually led to her resignation.