Sweden's foreign minister cleared in corruption inquiry

A Swedish prosecutor cleared Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom of corruption allegations after closing an inquiry.
A Swedish prosecutor cleared Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom of corruption allegations after closing an inquiry.PHOTO: AFP

STOCKHOLM(AFP) - A Swedish anti-corruption prosecutor said on Tuesday (May 24) that he had closed an inquiry into Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, concluding no crime was committed when she obtained a Stockholm rental apartment from a union.

Special prosecutor Alf Johansson at the National Economic Crimes Bureau opened a preliminary inquiry in January after daily newspaper Aftonbladet revealed details about the apartment obtained by Ms Wallstrom, a 61-year-old Social Democrat and the undisputed star of the government.

The influential municipal workers' union Kommunal had allowed the minister to move into a rent-stabilised apartment, bypassing a queue for ordinary tenants.

Stockholm has an acute housing shortage and the average waiting period to officially obtain a rental apartment is 13 years.

Ms Wallstrom, who has since moved, insisted at the time that she had acted in good faith and that she had received guarantees that Kommunal was following the rules.

"There is no evidence that a crime has been committed," Mr Johansson said in a statement.

The Swedish government is struggling in the opinion polls and has lost two ministers in recent weeks: housing minister Mehmet Kaplan stepped down in mid-April after comparing Israelis to the Nazis, and deputy prime minister in charge of the environment Asa Romson resigned in early May after repeated gaffes.

Another prominent left-wing politician, Ms Mona Sahlin, the national coordinator for protecting democracy against violent extremism, was also forced to resign in mid-May after media revealed that she had made false income declarations for her bodyguard to help him obtain bank loans.