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Bribery scandal rocks Stockholm arena

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Bribery scandal rocks Stockholm arena
12:05 CEST+02:00
A local politician and a construction magnate are among six people charged with corruption in conjunction with the building of a new national sporting arena in Stockholm.

“My opinion is that what these people have done is a punishable offence,” chief prosecutor Alf Johansson of at the National Anti-Corruption Unit (Riksenheten mot korruption) said to news agency TT on Wednesday.

The corruption allegations are connected to the building of a national sporting arena in Solna municipality, and one of the six people charged is local politician Lars-Erik Salminen of the Moderate party, the chairman of the municipal council.

Salminen however claims that he has done nothing wrong. On Wednesday the local Moderate party announced that he would be taking a “time-out” from politics.

“We still have complete confidence in Lars-Erik Salminen. At the same time we will respect his decision to take a time-out so that the political work won't suffer from this process,“ said Pehr Granfalk, chairman of the Moderate Party in Solna, in a statement.

According to the charges, Salminen and two representatives of a construction company offered the Solna city manager Sune Reinhold “inappropriate compensation” in 2007.

The prosecution claims that a total of 900,000 kronor ($145,296) were paid out to Reinhold.

Apart from Reinhold and Salminen four representatives of the PEAB construction company are now charged with aggravated bribery and corruption, including the company's founder Erik Paulsson

"I welcome the prosecution's investigation into the matter. I am completely gobsmacked by the allegations," he said to daily Expressen.

Lars-Erik Salminen said in a statement that he also welcomed the investigation, which he expects to clear him completely.

“The city guidelines are quite clear. In Solna we don't accept bribery,” he said.

At the same time he is concerned that the investigation will throw a shadow over the National Arena.

“It is a fantastic project which will provide Solna with a multifunctional arena of international standards, create new jobs and be a positive development to the whole Stockholm-region,” Salminen said.

Aggravated bribery can lead to a prison sentence of up to six years.

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