Swedish minister faces prostitution claims

Jul 10, 2010 2:23 PM | By Sapa-dpa

A sex scandal is rocking the Swedish government in the run-up to general elections, with the Aftonbladet newspaper reporting – three days after his resignation – that labour minister Sven Otto Littorin once hired a prostitute.

Paying for sex has been a crime in Sweden since 1999. Proven interactions with prostitutes are punishable with fines and, in some cases, imprisonment.

The affair is all the more explosive because Littorin, 44, did not mention the paper’s allegations while announcing his resignation on Wednesday, even though he reportedly had been informed of the charges shortly before.

Instead, Littorin justified his departure at a press conference by pointing to an ongoing custody fight with his wife over their three children.

“My resignation has three reasons. They are called Emma, Gustav and Arvid,” a tearful Littorin had said.

The minister also chastised the media for harassing his children with very personal questions.

“The children have paid the price for my public role,” he said.

A few hours earlier, Aftonbladet had confronted Littorin with information and evidence provided by a 30-year-old prostitute that the minister had paid for her services four years ago.

The paper posted a video of the ambush interview at the Visby airport on the internet.

Littorin is a member of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s conservative party and joined Reinfeldt’s cabinet as minister for employment in October 2006.

The premier said that Littorin denied the paper’s allegations before his resignation.

Reinfeldt said he doesn’t know how much the affair may harm him in the upcoming campaign. The general elections on September 19 will see Reinfeldt’s Moderate Party pitted against the Social Democrats, led by Mona Sahlin.

See original at Times Live

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