Sweden Democrats head hit by gambling scandal

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Sweden Democrats head hit by gambling scandal
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

UPDATED: The nationalist Sweden Democrats were dealt two more blows on Friday as party leader Jimmie Åkesson was revealed to have a high-stakes gambling habit and footage was leaked of party members secretly filming foreigners.


On Friday afternoon, Sveriges Radio (SR) revealed that Åkesson had spent upwards of 500,000 kronor ($70,000) this year alone on online betting. 

A gambling expert told the channel that such a habit was "out of control". The sum is more than the politician would have earned all year, after tax, reported SR.
Åkesson said that the large sums he spent were simply the winnings from previous bets, adding that he gambled "for fun" with his partner. 
The revelations came hot on the heels of a film clip leaked by the Aftonbladet newspaper on Friday morning. It shows at least three people in a car - one of whom was the Sweden Democrat's party chairman in Lund, Hans-Olof Andersson - on the look out for foreigners to film. 
"Look, I got a nigger," one of them says. 
One person in the car refers to the activity as "drive-by filming", while one of them uses the words "Somali bitches".
In another scene, the camera is pointing to a dark-skinned couple and their child, as someone says "Here's a bit of multi-culturalism".
When a woman sees them filming and confronts the trio, Andersson says that he's simply working on a "media project for university".
The film was made in 2010, and published on the party's official website at the time.
When confronted by Aftonbladet, Andersson denied that he was part of the filming, but changed tune when he was shown the clip.
"I don't understand what the problem is with this, we had a licence and we were often filming out in public areas," he said.
He declined to comment on why the team had said they were from university.
With elections on Sunday and the results far from certain, a fresh survey by pollsters Sifo has found that 33 percent of supporters for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's Moderate party would support a cooperation with the Sweden Democrats. 
The nationalist party is something of a kingmaker in the coming elections, and is expected to earn around 10 percent of the total votes. With the red-green bloc and the governing Alliance running a close race, cooperation with the Sweden Democrats, while extremely unlikely, would allow either bloc a definite majority. 
Friday's revelations mark the third of their kind for the party. Earlier this week, a party member stepped down after posting anonymous and racist comments online. Last week, another Sweden Democrat left her post after pictures surfaced of her wearing a Nazi swastika armband while apparently cleaning her house.
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