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Sahlin replaced after tabloid uncovered phony pay claim

Updated fredag 6 maj 2016 kl 15.20
Published fredag 6 maj 2016 kl 10.35
Gothenburg official about Sahlin's work: Put focus on radicalization problem in different cities
(1:52 min)
Ulf Palm/TT
Mona Sahlin, the former National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism. Photo: Ulf Palm/TT.

Mona Sahlin resigned her post as the National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism Wednesday evening after tabloid newspaper Expressen revealed that she had misrepresented the salary of one of her body guards in order to help him qualify to purchase a home.

On Thursday the Swedish Prosecution Authority said they would launch a preliminary inquiry into the matter. Daniel Norlander, a police officer from Gothenburg, was named as acting National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism.

Expressen printed an article Wednesday morning claiming that the longtime Social Democrat Sahlin had prepared an attestation to an employee's salary. The printed document said the body guard earned SEK 120,000 per year, but his salary from the Government Offices of Sweden was actually listed at only SEK 43,000 per month. The man had used the attestation to help buy a residence for SEK 10 million.

When confronted by Expressen about the document during the day Wednesday, Sahlin said that she paid the man SEK 60,000 per month to organize her personal protection when her assignment as National Coordinator ran out on June 15, and that she had made a mistake about his regular salary. Later Wednesday Sahlin gave notice that she would leave the post immediately.

Sahlin, a 59-year-old Stockholm native and veteran Social Democrat, was given the national coordinator appointment in the summer of 2014 during the previous center-right Alliance government. Sahlin in that role has featured regularly in the media as the public has become aware of the Islamic State's appeal and alleged recruitment efforts in Sweden.

Sahlin was first elected to Parliament in 1982, then at 25 the youngest MP. She lost a reelection bid in 1991, but subsequently was named the Social Democrat's first female party secretary. And in 1994 she was chosen as Deputy Prime Minister, and at the time she was considered a favorite for the country's top political post, which would have made her Sweden's first female prime minister.

But Sahlin became involved in another public scandal when an Expressen reporter revealed that she had used a government credit card for private purchases totalling SEK 50,000. She had used the card to rent cars, withdraw cash, and buy items including two Toblerone bars, which gave the scandal its name the "Toblerone Affair."

Sahlin said that she had taken an advance on her salary, and no criminal charges were filed. But the negative publicity led to Sahlin's departure from the deputy PM post.

Sahlin had a political resurrection when she was named party leader for the Social Democrats in 2007, but internal politics and low opinion poll figures pushed her out in 2011.

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