Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, is facing corruption allegations over his share options in a gas and investment company. Prosecutors have reportedly decided to launch an inquiry into whether the remuneration could be seen as inappropriate. The investigation could later form the basis of criminal proceedings – an outcome welcomed by Bildt who says that will make the situation clear.
When Bildt was named foreign minister last October he retired from the board of Vostok Nafta, whose assets consists almost entirely of shares in the Russian gas giant, Gazprom. But critics say his continued ownership of stock options may help Gazprom’s bid to build a controversial pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
For Green Party leader, Peter Eriksson, there is no question that Bildt is politically unfit to remain in his post. “He’s chosen greed over his credibility,” he says. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has backed his foreign minister and will no doubt be reluctant to lose another high profile member of his cabinet over a scandal. Both the Culture and Commerce ministers have been forced to resign for non-payment of taxes.