Citing the foreign ministry and police sources, the NTV television channel on Monday aired footage that it claimed showed a diplomat who works in the Swedish Embassy’s economics section being filmed during a police raid at a shop in southwestern Moscow selling tights.
The blond man was shown recommending some tights to a woman customer, before telling police he had brought the tights from Belarus in his car, which was shown to have diplomatic license plates.
According to the TT news agency, the television segment also includes excerpts of the interview between Russian police and the 35-year-old Swedish diplomat.
Investigator: Where did you get these goods from?
Diplomat: From my car.
Investigator: You mean, from your car with diplomatic plates?
Diplomat: Yes. I realize this is a bad situation
Investigator: This isn’t a ‘bad situation’. It’s called smuggling.
A Russian foreign ministry official, Nikolai Sandros, said in remarks broadcast on NTV that the diplomat had left Moscow.
“The Swedish side has taken a decision to end the work of (the official) at the Swedish Embassy in Moscow and he has already left Russia,” said Sandros, who oversees the ministry’s section for managing foreign diplomats.
A spokesman for the Swedish Embassy in Moscow told AFP he could not comment on the report Monday evening.
Police official Alexei Gnatyuk, head of a section that investigates economic crimes in southwestern Moscow, told NTV that police could not arrest the Swede due to diplomatic immunity and had informed the foreign ministry about the case.
On Tuesday, Sweden’s foreign ministry refused to issue any statement on the diplomat’s less-than-graceful departure from Moscow.
“No comment,” foreign ministry spokesperson Anders Jörle told TT.
“There’s simply nothing to say,” he added.