Persson denies admitting building breaches

There was confusion on Friday afternoon over the status of the case against former Prime Minister Göran Persson, who has been accused of breaking health and safety rules during the building of his mansion in Torp, south-west of Stockholm.

Prosecutor Lars Lundin had told news agency TT on Friday morning that Persson’s lawyer Tomas Nilsson had told him that Persson had admitted “negligence, but not intent,” in the case, meaning that he would be eligible for a summary judgment and a fine, avoiding a court case.

But Nilsson, also speaking to TT, flatly contradicted the prosecutor’s story.

“I cannot understand this prosecutor. I have laid out in a two-page submission why we contest the accusations of both negligence and intent,” he said.

The prosecutor said that the lawyer’s admission had come after he was told that the case would not be dropped. This version of events is disputed by Nilsson.

“I have told the prosecutor that if he is still of the same opinion, Göran Persson will make a final decision next week at the earliest,” Nilsson said.

Göran Persson is accused of breaching health and safety laws during the building of his mansion in Torp, south-west of Stockholm. The investigation into the building of Persson’s house started in May last year. Neither Persson, who was the officially named constructor, or his brother, the builder, had submitted the required papers prior to building starting. They also failed to submit a health and safety plan.

Persson denied negligence and intent when questioned by police. This left two alternatives for prosecutors – either to abandon the investigation or to prosecute.

“You can’t impose a fine by summary order if the person denies culpability,” said prosecutor Lars Lundin.