Swedish Politician Likes A Flutter… Or Three

Sweden Democrats party leader alleged to have spent $70,000 at online betting sites

The political elections taking place in Sweden this weekend have triggered significant interest in politicians and their activities, and the media has been happy to oblige.

On Friday one of the political parties in contention, the Sweden Democrats, was the focus of media reports that some of its members had made racist comments… and that party leader Jimmie Åkesson was an enthusiastic online gambler who spent $70,000 on the pastime last year.

Åkesson acknowledged the claim, explaining that it was a fun thing for him and his partner, and that much of the stakes he bet were from previous winnings, but a local gambling expert warned that gambling at that sort of level (the amount is more than the politician would have earned after tax all year) suggested an "out of control" habit.

The newspaper Aftonbadet carried a more damaging story about party members making allegedly racist comments during a secret drive-by movie of foreigners they made back in 2010. They subsequently positioned the movie on the party website.

The newspaper leaked a film clip showing Sweden Democrat's party chairman in Lund, Hans-Olof Andersson and two other people in a car, driving around and secretly filming foreign-looking people, making racially-charged comments about them as they did so.

Although he initially denied the allegations when approached by the newspaper, Andersson later changed tack, explaining that there was nothing wrong with his working on a project and filming in public spaces.

Earlier in the week, a party member stepped down after being caught out making anonymous and racially offensive online posts, whilst another member resigned after being photographed wearing a swastika arm band.

Surprisingly, the Sweden Democrats could be kingmakers in the election, reports The Local.se; current polls show that the party could win about 10 percent of the vote, possibly giving it the balance of power between the bigger Alliance and Moderate parties which are relatively closely matched.

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