Minister won't face bribery charges
A preliminary inquiry into suspected bribery regarding a rental apartment that Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom's obtained through the trade union Kommunal has been closed.
The chief prosecutor said he would not open a criminal inquiry because his investigation had not been able to identify a so-called "tjänstesamband" or connection between Wallström's lease and her duties as minister.
"I cannot prove that this flat was given to her because of her service as the foreign minister," said Alf Johansson, an anti-corruption prosecutor, speaking with Radio Sweden.
In January it was revealed that Wallström had been renting her 89 square-meter apartment in central Stockholm from the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union (Kommunal). Daily tabloid Aftonbladet reported that the rental company Polstjärnan, which manages Kommunal's apartments, had kept the units off Stockholm's official rental market queue so that they could be handed out to officials instead.
News agency TT had reported that according to the rental contract, use of the apartment was connected with Wallström's position as Minister for Foreign Affairs. The contract stated that Wallström would not have the right to live in the apartment "if the tenant terminates their employment."
Tuesday TT reported that the Swedish Anti-Corruption Institute had said the home could be considered an "undue advantage" and therefore bribery.
While Johansson acknowledged that a lease in Stockholm's difficult rental market constituted an "advantage," his investigation could not link it to Wallström's ministerial duties.
"We have performed something like 25 interviews, and we have looked through quite a lot of documentation," said Johansson.
Wallström has denied any wrongdoing and had said she would welcome an investigation. In a written comment to TT she wrote:
"I received the news that the preliminary investigation was closed. It's good it was investigated. I am now looking forward to focusing fully on my work," said Wallström.