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Persbrandt loses Unicef role after cocaine bust

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Persbrandt loses Unicef role after cocaine bust
10:34 CEST+02:00
Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt, the star of the Oscar-winning film "In a Better World", has lost his role as an ambassador for the UN's children's fund Unicef after being caught using cocaine.

"It has been incredibly important through the years for Mikael that the focus of the partnership is on Unicef's important work for children and not on his person and as this is no longer as clear as it was previously he has chosen to leave his role," Persbrandt's agent Peter Jansson said in a Unicef statement.

The fund meanwhile lauded Persbrandt's work.

"Mikael Persbrandt has always conducted his role with commitment and professionalism during his years as an ambassador," the statement read.

Persbrandt was signed up as a Unicef ambassador in 2006 and has featured in several films promoting the organisation, as well as a visit to quake-hit Haiti.

Following reports that the 47-year-old actor was arrested in January after having taken cocaine in a Stockholm nightspot, Unicef immediately said that his role as ambassador was under review.

The actor at first denied taking the drug but after a urine test exposed traces of cocaine, he admitted to the offence and was subsequently fined 13,500 kronor ($2,150).

The 47-year-old claimed that it was the first time he had dabbled in the drug and said that he had hardly felt any effect.

Persbrandt, one of Sweden's most well-known stage and film actors, recently enjoyed international recognition when the Susanne Bier film "In a Better World" picked up the 2011 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

The burly Swede stars as a doctor who divides his time between family life in Denmark and a turbulent life working in a refugee camp in east Africa.

Persbrandt's next major Hollywood project will be playing the role of Beorn in The Hobbit Parts 1 and 2, the prequels to the Lord of the Rings.

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