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MP slams Sweden Democrat leader's claim he did not know details of sex assault allegation: 'He's lying'

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MP slams Sweden Democrat leader's claim he did not know details of sex assault allegation: 'He's lying'
Former SD MP Hanna Wigh (left) has challenged party leader Jimmie Åkesson's account of events. Photo: Photo: Jonas Ekströmer & Janerik Henriksson/TT
10:49 CEST+02:00
The leader of the Sweden Democrats (SD) insists he did not know about accusations of sex crimes within the party, but the MP who raised the alarm countered that he is lying.

On Monday, Hanna Wigh revealed she was quitting the party to become an independent MP, saying she was silenced by bosses after raising the alarm over sexual harassment and groping by colleagues.

An SD MP since 2014, Wigh told TV4 documentary ‘Kalla Fakta' that the problems started in 2012 when a party member allegedly harassed her and several other female colleagues.

The politician also said she was told not to speak to the media about sex scandals when an SD member was accused of rape during the Almedalen political festival in 2013.

READ ALSO: Sweden Democrats accused of silencing sex crime victims

When she did decide to comment on a further incident – a leaked internal security report from 2016 where women in the party who had told of sexual harassment were dismissed as "sick", "clingy" or "drunk" – Wigh says she was called to a meeting with party leader Jimmie Åkesson who expressed his disappointment that she had talked to the media. Wigh also told the programme that another SD MP sexually assaulted her, but she did not report the incident to the police out of fear of the consequences.

On Tuesday, Åkesson made the rounds on Sweden's breakfast TV shows and insisted he had still not been told by Wigh who the person she was accusing is.

"Right now we're flying blind and we have to find out who it is. We'll assume that it's true, and that there's therefore a rapist running around our premises, which we of course don't want," Åkesson told Aftonbladet Morgon.

"I appeal to Hanna Wigh to explain who it is so we can deal with it. We didn't know about this before," he continued.

But in an interview on the same day, Wigh said she met Åkesson while attending TV4's breakfast show on Tuesday morning and told him who the person was – before he went on air to speak with Aftonbladet Morgon.

"He's lying. He got the name from me. I met him in TV4's corridor this morning and we had a conversation where I explained who it is. I also explained when and how it happened," she told Nyheter24.

SD filed a police report about the sexual assault accusation on Monday. On Tuesday afternoon the party's press chief Henrik Vinge told newspaper Expressen that the MP who is subject to the accusation is taking a "time out" and will leave the Riksdag:

"He explained what happened and that he wants to fully cooperate in the investigation".

A preliminary investigation has now been launched by the special prosecution office of the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

"After hearing what the woman has said in the media I have made the assessment that there is reason to suppose that a sexual crime has been committed. I will now take investigative measures to secure the evidence in the case. We need to get in touch with the plaintiff in order to offer her support in the form of counsel for an injured party," Maria Sterup from the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in statement. 

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