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Scandal-hit King denies all allegations

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18:50 CEST+02:00
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf has denied all reports of alleged visits to strip clubs and contact with the criminal underworld, in an interview with the TT news agency on Monday afternoon.

"It is difficult to comment on something which one has not seen and which no one else has seen either," the King told the TT news agency referring to reports of compromising pictures which are at the centre of recent revelations.

The King's denials come after an extended period of turbulence and revelations over his private life and in the wake of polls indicating that support among the Swedish people had declined declining sharply.

Broadcaster TV4 reported recently that it had viewed the pictures which it confirmed featured the King in a strip club in the same picture as two women having sex, prompting questions over the king's private life and the company he was keeping.

The King denied in the interview that such pictures could exist.

"No, they can't actually exist," he said.

One of the King's close friends, Anders Lettström, admitted last week to contacting an alleged mafia boss to ask for help to negotiate with the strip club owner and stop him from making sensitive material public.

The King denied having had any contact with Lettström prior to him contacting the alleged mafia boss.

"No, as I said earlier I have not spoken to him recently. He does his thing. I don't decide over him - and that will have to stand for itself. It is regrettable that he showed poor judgement and came into contact with the wrong group, yes, shall we call them certain criminal groups," the King said.

The latest reports came just over six months after a tell-all biography of the King hit the bookstands, causing an uproar with its descriptions of his participation in wild parties and affairs with young women.

One of the allegations included in "Carl XVI Gustaf - Den motvillige monarken" ('Carl XVI Gustaf - The Reluctant Monarch') was a report that the King had conducted a year-long affair with the singer Camilla Hennemark and visited strip clubs in several world cities.

The King denied having visited the Gold Club in Atlanta in 1996 and the Carat Club in Bratislava in 2008, details of which were included in The Reluctant Monarch.

"Unfortunately, there are large number of people who visit these clubs, and which don't always have the possibility to keep a check on who was there and who was not there," he said.

When asked whether there was anything in the books which was true and could have possibly exposed the King to possible blackmail, he replied:

"No, there is in fact nothing," he told TT.

The King, who serves as Sweden's head of state as well as chair of the country's foreign affairs committee, also denied ever visiting places inappropriate for someone in his position.

"You don't know which sort of places you end up in sometimes. I thinking about when one is invited by a host who takes you to different places and so on. And that there should be some sort of strange or weird place like you're trying to insinuate…I've never had a feeling like that. There's nothing in that," the king replied.

He also denied knowing that Lettström had contacts in criminal circles.

"No. That has come out now afterward, it was a few weeks ago when it came out on the radio and on tape, quite simply, where he had been recorded," the King explained.

According to the King, he had "no idea" that Lettström planned to send an email to Swedish media outlets in which he took the blame for seeking help from criminals, asserting that he in no way pressured his friend into doing so.

Lettström's actions, however, had permanently damaged his friendship with the King.

"It's clear, after this situation, one has to reevaluate our friendship," he said, adding that he would only consider getting closer to Lettström "on my deathbed, maybe".

Carl XVI Gustaf also downplayed speculation that he may abdicate in the face of declining poll numbers, saying that recent events in no way affected his views about when Crown Princess Victoria should succeed him.

"It's like a tradition and custom so you can't just go about it that way," he said.

He admitted, however, that recent negative press has taken its toll on his family.

"Of course it's been tough. It's tough. Obviously, the rest of the family has taken this very hard as well, Together we'll probably get through it too," said the King.

In addition, the bad press has also affected views about the monarchy, he explained.

"It's clear that it damages trust in me, and even in the monarchy and Sweden. I'm really sorry about that. But that's something I'm going to fix and I'm going to work twice as hard in the future," he said.

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