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'Timeout' for MP in sexual harassment probe

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'Timeout' for MP in sexual harassment probe
18:53 CET+01:00
The ruling Moderate Party has ordered a prominent MP suspected of sexually harassing a teenage member of the party's youth wing to take a "timeout" from parliament, as the police move to name him a formal suspect.
Gunnar Axén, a member of parliament since 1998, was reported to the police for sexual harassment in late October. While he continues to deny the accusations, it emerged on Wednesday that Axén will be formally named as a suspect in the investigation later this week.
 
"He's been assigned a defence attorney and that means he's going to be interrogated as a suspect," prosecutor Mats Ericson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
 
The alleged incident took place at an October 12th party organized by the party's youth wing, Muf. The police report was filed on by an 18-year-old female member of Muf, Sveriges Television (SVT) reported. A public defender assigned to represent Axén told the TT news agency his client has "given a fully satisfactory explanation for these claims".
 
"It would surprise me very much if charges are filed," the attorney added.
 
Anna Kinberg Batra, head of the Moderates' parliamentary group, confirmed on Wednesday she had received word that one of the party's MPs was a formal suspect in a criminal investigation, emphasizing the party took the matter "very seriously".
 
"In accordance with our ethics policy we have, in consultation with the member, decided that he should refrain from participating in his work at the Riksdag until further notice," she added in an emailed statement, calling the move a "timeout".
 
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