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State research board spent millions on parties

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08:55 CEST+02:00
The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (Stiftelsen för strategisk forskning - SSF) has spent several million kronor reserved for research on parties, with one million kronor going towards the foundation's 15th birthday celebration.

“We made a mistake,” Ulla-Britt Fräjdin-Hellqvist, Chairman of the SSF said to the TT news agency.

The revelations come just weeks after the news that the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) had spent millions on expensive internal entertainment, causing its director general, Christina Lugnet, to be relived of her duties.

The foundation gave 9.3 million kronor to party organizer Michael Bindefeld over the course of three years, but it remains unclear exactly what the money has gone towards, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN) revealed on Tuesday.

The foundation's 15th year celebration was celebrated in Stockholm's City Hall, with the Nobel Banquet as a model, and boasted over 500 invited guests including politicians, journalists, directors and governors.

The contract with Bindefeld has been put in question, and foundation head Lard Rask explained that he regretted that he never warned the board of the need to put the contract out to tender.

“We live in a grey area between private and public. But if you look at the existing laws it's crystal clear, I think it's crystal clear in any case, that one should put it out to tender,” Rask told the paper.

The payment, which according to DN was only mentioned “in passing” during 2009's annual report, was labelled as “MBAB information project”.

Fräjdin-Hellqvist admits that the foundation has failed.

“We were wrong not to have put the contract out to tender. We will now go through all the facts that DN published and see what failed and after that we will decide on action. It will go at lightning speed, we started as early as yesterday,” she told the TT news agency.

TT/The Local/og

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