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Foundation head held tax-funded birthday party

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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BOMB

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority

Two Swedish citizens are suspected in connection with last week’s explosion at the Danish Tax Agency. One of the two is in police custody.

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority
Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov addresses the press. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov confirmed the arrests to press on Wednesday morning.

“Both individuals are suspected of carrying out the detonation at the Tax Agency,” Skov said.

One man, aged 22, was arrested in Swedish city Malmö on Tuesday and will be extradited to Denmark. Once he reaches Copenhagen he will appear for preliminary court proceedings, which the prosecution will request take place behind closed doors.

Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten reports the 22-year-old has no previous criminal convictions in the country.

The second man, a 23-year-old, is yet to be detained but an international arrest warrant for him has been issued, Skov said.

“During the night, we also searched several addresses in Sweden. We hereby confiscated what we believe to be a car used by the suspects,” he said.

“We have one suspect on the loose, which means we must be careful about what we say, out of consideration for the investigation,” he added.

The superintendent did not add any detail about how police were able to connect the two individuals to the August 6th explosion.

Skov also stressed that police do not believe the tax authority blast to be connected to a similar incident at a police station in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday.

“There is nothing to suggest (a connection),” he said.

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