Swedish foreign minister cleared in corruption inquiry

STOCKHOLM: Special prosecutor Alf Johansson at the National Economic Crimes Bureau Sweden said on Tuesday that he had closed an inquiry into Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, concluding that no crime was committed when she obtained a Stockholm rental apartment from a union.

He had opened a preliminary inquiry in January this year after daily newspaper Aftonbladet revealed details about the apartment obtained by Margot, 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.

Margot 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,” the anti-corruption prosecutor said in a statement. The Swedish government is struggling in the opinion polls and has lost two ministers in recent weeks; Minister for Housing Mehmet Kaplan stepped down in mid-April after comparing Israelis to the Nazis, and the deputy prime minister in charge of the environment Asa Romson resigned in early May after repeated gaffes.

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