saudi arms scandal

Liberals say Social Democrats acted wrongly on Saudi arms deal

The Swedish Liberal Party says the Social Democrats planned to build an arms factory in Saudi Arabia as early as 2005, and accuse the former prime minister Göran Persson of misleading parliament.

The Liberals have therefore reported both Persson, and the then defence minister, Leni Björklund, to the Constitutional Committee.

Allan Widman, the Liberals' defence spokesman, says that the framework agreement that the Social Democrat-led government signed with Saudi Arabia in 2005, contains details very similar to what actually ocurred - the sale of a radar system and plans for a weapons facility.

He says that this shows that the then government went ahead with a political decision on weapon exports, without consulting the relevant state agency, the ISP. This would be a breach of the rules. 

In a previous investigation by the Constitutional Committee the Social Democrat government said that the Swedish-Saudi agreement did not commit Sweden to any particular projects. Allan Widman says that this may mean that the Persson government gave parliament false information.

The Constitutional Committee is already investigating the former defence minister, Sten Tolgfors, who recently resigned, partly due to the media attention over the saudi arms facility. The Green Party reported Tolgfors to the committee, and the Greens welcome the latest investigation as well.