Michael Persson, who has gone on holiday for the start of the investigation, wrote on Facebook that he “unreservedly apologised” for what had happened.
“It has deeply wounded me that, without properly understanding why, I have managed to offend people around me,” he wrote.
The church is the centre of London’s “Little Sweden” in upmarket Marylebone, with a cluster of Swedish shops and bakeries nearby, including the Harcourt Arms, a Swedish pub.
But Persson’s position started to come under fire at the start of this month, when the Aftonbladet newspaper wrote a series of article accusing him of using church money to pay for his 50th birthday party, pay his son’s sky high phone bills, and using a church car for his private holidays.
There were also accusations of crude sexual comments to co-workers.
Inger Öhlén, one of Persson’s former colleagues in London, told Aftonbladet: “If a volunteer has a Finnish boyfriend, the vicar might say, ‘how does it feel to have a Finnish stick up your bum every night?”. It’s just not OK to for a boss to say that sort of thing.”
Helen Ottosson Lovén, General Secretary of Swedish Churches Abroad (SKUT), said in a statement on Friday that she had hired Mannheimer Swartling, a law firm, to investigate the accusations including those about Persson’s personal behaviour, over the summer holidays.
“We take the information that has now been received very seriously,” she told Aftonbladet.