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Foundation head held tax-funded birthday party

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09:02 CEST+02:00
Madelene Sandström, the head of Sweden's Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelsen), has come under fire amid reports that she spent over 100,000 kronor ($15,000) of research money on lavish fiftieth birthday celebrations in November.

Madelene Sandström spent 103,745 kronor on her fiftieth birthday, an extravagant event including live entertainment from popular Swedish performers, revealed the Metro newspaper.

The birthday party, which took place in November last year, was funded by money that the foundation should have used to support research, according to the paper.

A spokesperson for the foundation has defended the incident, explaining that the event was not a private party, rather a chance to meet and greet people of importance in relevant fields of work.

“Other organizations spend money on going to the political week in Almedalan at Gotland. We think that this is a better way to meet important people,” head of communications Ulf Hall told Metro.

However, a spokesperson from Skatteverket, the Swedish Tax Agency, explained that 50th birthday celebrations should be viewed as private expenses.

“As a rule, Skatteverket does not accept tax deductions for 50th birthday parties. Politicians, business leaders and CEOs should reimburse the money if the company or the party pays,” explained tax-lawyer Birgitta von Euler to the paper.

Meanwhie, Kent Persson of the Left Party believes the incident clashes with the expected morals of a state organization.

“Of course it's important to stimulate the staff but this feels truly immoral,” he told the paper.

Sandström, who has been the head of the foundation since April in 2009, was not reached for comment by the paper.

The foundation donates 375 million kronor each year among the country's high schools for research purposes.

TT/The Local/og

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