Defence minister under fire over FOI

1:50 min

Sweden's defence minister Karin Engström was criticised Friday for her comments that she is happy with how plans to share a Swedish computer programme with China was conducted, even though experts say the software could be used militarily.

There are no grounds to suspect that Sweden was going to allow China to have a military computer programme, says the defence minister.

But another representative from the government parties says there are still questions that need answering.

The alleged deal involves the state run FOI defence research institute selling software that had potential military uses to China, despite the country being subject to an international arms embargo.

Swedish minister Karin Enström, of the Moderate Party, has called the head of the FOI to answer questions on the deal, which was revealed by Swedish Television's Uppdrag Granskning.

But the defence spokesperson for another government party, the Liberals, is not satisfied.

"I'd like to see more clarity on what has been done, who has done it and how it has been done" says Allan Widman, of the liberal Folkpartiet, to Swedish Radio News.

Minutes from a meeting show that the research agency FOI planned to use the royal technical college as a go-between, since direct military trade with countries like China is forbidden.

The minutes also show the general director of the FOI was involved. But the man himself, Jan Olof Lind says his staff have made a mistake, and he never approved the deal.

"This doesn't fit with my understanding," he says to Swedish Radio.

As well as the Liberals, the opposition Social Democrats are not happy with the explanation the FOI have offered.

Their foreign affairs spokesman, Urban Ahlin, says Karin Enström got the job after the previous defence minister left during a similar scandal, and she should have checked whether the FOI was running any other questionable deals.