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Hospital in ‘fairyland’ tax haven claims

An estimated 1.3 billion kronor of taxpayers money set aside to build Sweden's most advanced hospital is alleged to have been channelled to a tax haven in Luxembourg by the companies behind the project.

Hospital in 'fairyland' tax haven claims
A model of the new Karolinska hospital being constructed in Stockholm. Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT
The new flagship Karolinska hospital in Stockholm is aiming to become a world leader in medical training and provision, building on Sweden's reputation for scientific advancements and even hoping to develop future prize winners in Alfred Nobel's home country.
 
The project is expected to run into billions, with Swedish media reporting it could cost as much as 52 billion kronor. 
 
But reporters for Swedish television network SVT's Mission Investigation (Uppdrag granskning) programme have unearthed documents which they believe connects the companies behind it to a complicated tax structure in Luxembourg.
 
In the programme, due to be broadcast on Wednesday evening, they suggest that that large amounts of money were transferred to Luxembourg using complex financial structures in order to avoid tax in Sweden. 
 
The development is run by the SHP (Swedish Hospital Partners) organization, comprising of Swedish building giant Skanska and British investment firm Innisfree. SHP secured the contract when it was put out to tender after putting forward the only bid to build, finance and operate the building until 2040. 
 
It has been alleged that as much as 1.3 billion of public money meant for the project has been channelled to Luxembourg. SVT reporters examined leaked papers by auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as part of their research. 
 
The financial commissioner for the Stockholm County Council said he was "disappointed" with the accusations in the programme.
 
"I think it's sad to hear that they have such aggressive tax planning. Here we will build Sweden's most modern hospital and provide care to the most ill in Stockholm with the best treatment. I think it's unethical not to pay taxes in the country where they operate in," Torbjörn Rosdahl told the SVT programme. 
 
Earlier this month The Local reported that several major Swedish companies including Ikea, Tele2 and SEB have also secured secret tax deals in Luxembourg. 
 
The Swedish firms were among 340 international companies looked at by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
 
ICIJ said that Luxembourg was still a “magical fairyland” for corporations seeking to "drastically reduce tax bills".
 
SHP has stated in the past that its tax arrangements comply with Swedish law.
 
The Local/pr

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KAROLINSKA

These are Sweden’s 13 best universities according to a new ranking

Three Swedish universities have made the top 100 in a prestigious global ranking – with 13 Swedish universities in the top 1000s.

These are Sweden's 13 best universities according to a new ranking
The Karolinska Institute was Sweden's top university in the ranking. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Harvard University in the US again placed first in the table of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU – also often referred to as the Shanghai Ranking).

But Sweden's performance was not too shabby, with the Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University and Stockholm University in the top 100s, and 13 universities in the top 1000s.

Sweden's medical school Karolinska Institute climbed to 38th place in the ranking, up from 44th last year.

It was followed by Uppsala in 62nd place and Stockholm as number 73, who both also improved their performance on last year.

Its Danish neighbours got the highest spot out of the Nordic countries, with University of Copenhagen in 26th place. But Sweden had the most universities listed compared to Denmark's and Norway's six each, Finland's eight and Iceland's one nod in the ranking.

The rest of the Swedish seats were Lund University (in a shared 101-150th spot), University of Gothenburg (151-200), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (201-300), Chalmers University of Technology (301-400), Linköping University (301-400), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (301-400), Stockholm School of Economics (401-500), Umeå University (401-500), Örebro University (801-900) and Luleå University of Technology (901-1000).

Among the six indicators used to rank the universities were the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of highly cited researchers, and the number of articles cited in journals of nature and science

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