Sweden's dealings with the charitable foundation set up by former US president Bill Clinton have been called into question.
The Washington Times newspaper claims that the bulk of the money deposited in a Swedish arm of the Clinton family's global foundation was transferred while US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State, and was liaising with the Nordic nation over its controversial business links with Iran.
According to the report, diplomatic cables reveal that “Mrs Clinton's team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the US Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran's rogue nuclear programme.”
“Sweden does not support implementing tighter financial sanctions on Iran,” the paper reports one cable from 2009 stating.
The document apparently goes on to suggest that “more stringent financial standards could hurt Swedish exports.”
The Washington Times suggests a link between the two events, noting that by the time Hillary Clinton left office in 2013, the Clinton Foundation's Swedish subsidiary (William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse) had collected millions of dollars inside the Scandinavian country for its global charitable projects.
“The foundation declined repeated requests to identify the names of the specific donors that passed through the Swedish arm,” the newspaper wrote, adding that a spokesperson for Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign had also declined to comment.
But it said that a spokesperson for the foundation had insisted that Bill Clinton's team had had nothing to hide regarding its Swedish arm and had set it up specifically to make the most of changes in Swedish law which allowed Swedish lotteries to give some of their earnings to the US-based foundation.
Hillary Clinton used to represent the United States abroad as US Secretary of State and is now running for President. Photo: TT
Craig Minassian, Head of Communication for the charity in the US also told The Washington Times: “The Clinton Foundation is a philanthropy, period.”
When contacted by The Local, William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse's lawyer Jon Pettersson, said: “The Swedish board member on the foundation – and there is only one – has no comment on this matter and neither do I.”
Jan Lombach is publically listed as the Swedish member on the Board for the Clinton Foundation. He is a lawyer and partner of the law firm Törngren Magnell.
The Swedish Postcode Lottery — which is believed to be among the groups that made donations — is owned by a private company, Novamedia, although it is regulated by the Swedish state. Novamedia was not immediately available for comment.
The reported Swedish donations took place while Moderate party politician Carl Bildt was Sweden's Foreign Minister as part of the previous centre-right coalition government.
“Overall, I’m not a fan of sanctions because they are more a demonstration of our inability than our ability,” he was quoted as telling State officials in a cable marked “secret” and which was also referenced by The Washington Times this week.
The Local has approached the Moderates' press office for comment as well as the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
Mats Samuelsson, a spokesperson for the Swedish Embassy in Washington earlier told the US newspaper: “Discussions leading to decisions on sanctions are internal and should remain so”.
“Sweden fully implements all U.N. and EU sanctions by which Sweden is bound,” he added.