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Danielsson tsunami story contradicted by tapes

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11:16 CEST+02:00
The information given by former prime minister Göran Persson's most senior aide about events on the first day after the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 has been contradicted by details emerging from the Commission into the Swedish government's handling of the crisis.

Lars Danielsson, the senior civil servant blamed in the media for the previous government's slow reaction to the disaster, said that his main source of information was the media. However, no such internet searches have been found on the back-up tapes being investigated by the commission, sources have revealed to Svenska Dagbladet.

But the tapes, found in a drawer in the cellar of government offices in Rosenbad in October 2006, show that on the day of the catastrophe Danielsson searched on the internet about the Malaysian holiday island of Langkawi, 300 kilometres south of Phuket where 543 Swedes died and 1,500 were injured.

Danielsson was due to be visiting Malaysia on government business after the New Year but had planned to take a holiday there afterwards, the then Swedish ambassador confirmed to SvD.

Lars Danielsson searched for information about a hotel on Langkawi several times on the day of the tsunami and the day after. But the data backups show no details of work relating to the tsunami.

Danielsson did not use his desktop computer at Rosenbad on Boxing Day or the morning of the day after. Instead, he logged from elsewhere using a laptop.

The network logs revealed that Danielsson did not log into his computer in Rosenbad until December 27th, some 33 hours after the tidal wave struck.

When he appeared before the Constitutional Committee Lars Danielsson said that he had received an email from Lennart Brittner in the ministry of defence at 6.38am on the day of the tsunami. He also said that he relayed the contents of the email to the Prime Minister at around 8am.

But Brittner never sent the email, according to Svenska Dagbladet's source.

The Commission will present its findings to the government on June 14th.

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