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Only eight days after her cabinet came into power Maria Borelius has resigned as Minister of Trade. Her crime? She too - like Napoleon Persson before her - believed some people were more equal than others.
'We've agreed she should resign', said the eight day old PM Fredrik Reinfeldt on radio today. 'She'll also resign her seat in parliament. She's leaving politics altogether.'
Borelius decided to resign when she learned that her party's solicitor would be reviewing her private finances.
'I'm to be held responsible for choosing a person to my cabinet who was harshly criticised and who therefore decided to resign', added Reinfeldt.
Borelius has not made herself available for interviews but has instead decided to submit a written commentary to the press.
'I am resigning because of the pressure on people close to me. My family, my friends, my neighbours and their children, my business contacts, my relatives - even my children's friends have been subjected to intense scrutiny which makes normal family life impossible.'
'I was appointed to the cabinet as Minister of Trade to sell Sweden abroad and to improve international trade because that is the most accessible means of lifting people in the third world out of poverty. I now see it will be impossible for me to complete my tasks.'
'I have not withheld any information from the investigation save for my using tax free immigrant maids between 1990 and 2000. I've been very open about this throughout my political career.'
Poor Maria! Actually she's been better at selling out Sweden abroad - but if family life was getting so difficult with all the attention from the press, why didn't she just 'get away from it all' to her mansion north of the capital in Djursholm, Sweden's most obscenely posh suburb, to her 'tax free' house in Falsterbo Sweden, or to one of her tax free palaces abroad - such as her fabulous flat on the coast in Cannes?
All of which happen to be owned by offshore letterbox companies, strangely enough.
Thanks to the offshores Maria and her family have been able to live comfortably in a number of locations. And as owner of the properties she doesn't even have to pay for their upkeep.
Her company Full Moon Ltd is supposed to pay real estate tax on its Swedish properties; Maria and her husband don't have to pay a penny. Since the purchase of the villa in Falsterbo Full Moon have paid SEK 83,000 in real estate taxes. They paid SEK 31,416 in 2004.
The trick is the Swedish real estate tax can easily be eliminated from Full Moon's bookkeeping.
All taxes and other expenses for Full Moon are deductible, corroborates an expert working for the tax authority on Jersey. Full Moon can thus deduct taxes from rental and other revenues.
And the same thing happens the day Full Moon sell the property. Profit on the sale is taxed in Sweden, but Full Moon can again claim this tax as an 'expense'.
Full Moon bought the house in 2002 for SEK 6,800,000. The current value is estimated at almost double or SEK 12,000,000.
There's no luxury tax either as corporations never pay luxury tax, corroborates Annika Sjöblom with the Swedish tax authority.
If a tenant is registered as living abroad there is no requirement to pay taxes in Sweden. Maria Borelius and her family are registered as living in the United Kingdom. Maria herself changed her own registration back to Sweden in time for the national elections in September.
As Maria's husband Greger Larsson is still registered as living in the UK, the Swedish tax authority can initiate an investigation to see if the family has a 'significant connection' with Sweden. As long as Maria remained Minister of Trade they definitely had that 'significant connection'.
'If taxation moves to Sweden the taxpayers who let a foreign company own their house have considerable opportunities to avoid paying the rent with taxed revenues. A way around all this is to borrow money from one's offshore to pay the rent on the house, thereby circumventing the taxation which normally hits Swedish corporations', says Ulf Hansson, legal expert with the Swedish tax authority. 'The money starts going around in circles. The real owner of the property ends up being able to live there for free.'
The Swedish tax authority have no possibility to gain more insight into Maria Borelius' affairs with Full Moon Ltd, as Sweden totally lack an information exchange agreement with the channel island.
But it gets worse: Maria's been under continual pressure from Swedish tax authorities. Although all her official business ventures have supposedly collapsed, she still manages to live a life of luxury - a life more equal than others.
Maria's been owner of a media company called Mammut Television. As it was an abysmal failure on paper, it was supposed to be declared bankrupt in the year 2000. But Maria started moving money between Mammut and another of her companies appropriately called 'Maria Borelius Inc' via yet another holding company. Meaning there were no spoils to be plucked when the bankruptcy took place. Maria later pulled the same trick with 'Maria Borelius Inc' when it too was ready to be declared bankrupt.
Both Mammut Television and 'Maria Borelius Inc' had as early as 2003 used up more than half their capital despite considerable losses - meaning the corporations were required to submit a 'control balance sheet'. Failure to submit results in their being liquidated or declared bankrupt. But Maria just ignored it all. According to her press secretary she was not required to do anything with those two companies because there hadn't been any financial activity since 1999.
Which can't be further from the truth. Fiscal years 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 Mammut had revenues of up to SEK 400,000. Maria's plan was to declare zero income for these years - which is why she used yet another holding company to smuggle money from the one company to the other.
Which might be why she's had to step down from the board of directors of two companies this week: Active Biotech and Telelogic. Perhaps they've somehow inexplicably lost confidence in her.
Maria Borelius and her husband earned SEK 16,700,000 in the 1990s - and still used an illegal tax free immigrant maid service for those ten years - and why? Speaking from her glamourous garden in Djursholm, Maria told the press she 'couldn't afford to pay taxes on legal maid help'. [Or clean herself, obviously.]
All of which would seem to mean Maria Borelius, completely without political experience and Minister of Trade for all of eight days, is really not hurting that bad at all.
She's always got her luxury flat in Cannes worth SEK 5,000,000 if things go sour with Falsterbo - this one's owned by another offshore called Soleil Investment. [It pays to choose your offshores wisely.]
And her eight days in office - during which she spent her time dodging interviews and thwarting investigations and not working for Sweden as she was supposed to - can still net poor Maria SEK 1,200,000 as part of Napoleon's parachute scheme - which the new government haven't had time to repeal yet.
SEK 1,200,000 represents normal income for an 'equal' Swede for five years. But as honest and respectable as she is, Maria will take the cash. She almost has to.
A final question: with all her clever financial dealings, how could Maria Borelius be so stupid to think she'd evade the public eye? And there's no turning back: Maria's now gone down in history not as a Swedish minister of trade but as an incredibly stupid crook. Her name is total dirt all over the planet today - with countless links already at international news sites. How could she not see this coming?
How could she be so stupid?