Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, who has become public enemy No. 1 in Israel over her remarks criticizing the security forces for carrying out “extrajudicial killings” against Palestinian terrorists, appears to be entangled in a brewing corruption scandal back home.
According to the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, the country’s largest trade union, Kommunal, is alleged to have rented out luxury apartments in Stockholm at steep discounts to corporate executives and senior officials from the ruling Social Democratic party.
The newspaper reported on Friday that Kommunal leased these apartments at substantially low prices compared to their value on the real estate market.
One of those senior political figures reported to have received a discount is Wallstrom.
The apartments were reported to have been overseen by a maintenance firm that made sure to take them off of the market so that they could be reserved especially for senior government figures and trade union executives.
The TT news agency reported on Friday that one of the tenants who took up residence in these apartments was Wallstrom.
For her part, the foreign minister denied the accusations, claiming that she was “cheated.”
“The declaration that they presented to me was a forgery,” she is quoted as telling TT. “And this is totally unacceptable.”
Wallstrom said that she plans on leaving the apartment, which is her current residence, this coming Thursday.
“This is hurtful to me, and this is hurtful to Kommunal,” she said.
Swedish press also reported on Friday that the employees of a restaurant that the trade union operates delivered free crates of wine to Kommunal offices in Stockholm despite the fact that it is legally barred from selling alcohol.
The sale and distribution of alcohol is one of Sweden’s most regulated industries since the government owns a virtual monopoly on liquor.
The revelations followed the resignation of Kommunal’s chief financial officer, who was revealed to have indulged in expensive weekends at a luxury spa.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Wallstrom on Thursday, characterizing her recent statements calling for an investigation of Israeli “extrajudicial killings” as “outrageous, immoral, unjust and just wrong.”
He later added another adjective – “stupid” – though he stopped short of endorsing comments made a day earlier by National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, who intimated that Wallstrom’s comments were anti-Semitic.
Speaking at the annual New Year’s reception for the foreign press, Netanyahu said he did not examine Wallstrom’s motives.
“Israel is not above criticism, but it should be held to the same standards that everyone else is being held to,” he said.