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Swedish free school head convicted for tax fraud

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10:17 CEST+02:00
The principal of a Stockholm-area free school who "used the school as her personal bank account" has been convicted for falsifying invoices to avoid paying taxes.

Following her conviction on Wednesday, the principal of the publicly-funded, privately-managed Intercultural Education (Interkulturell Utbildning) in the Stockholm suburb of Spånga has been sentenced to one year in prison and a five-year ban on conducting business operations.

The 46-year old woman wrote falsified invoices and withheld 1.7 million kronor ($260,000) in taxes from the government before getting caught.

"She was basically using the school as her own personal bank account," prosecutor Jan Tibbling explained to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

Wednesday's conviction also led to a 500,000 kronor fine for the company, on top of the prison time and business ban.

Sweden's education watchdog agency, the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Svenska skolinspektionen), looked into the school a year ago, following signs that something was amiss.

"Study results were poor, the equality plan was deficient, and the finances were unstable, but it improved," Kjell Hedwall, department manager at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, told the newspaper.

"Now we have to investigate if the crimes committed affected the students, if they haven't received the education they're entitled to. If this is the case, we may withdraw the school's permit."

The school has previously received 35 million kronor a year, but these payments will be stopped once the sentence is finalised.

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