Sweden probes economic crime linked to Nobel literature academy

Stockholm (AFP) –


Swedish authorities on Friday said they were probing an economic crime linked to the academy that awards the Nobel literature prize, after it plunged into a crisis over ties to a man accused of sexual assault.

"A preliminary investigation into economic crimes in a case linked to the Swedish Academy has been launched," the Swedish Economic Crime Authority said in a statement.

The authority did not specify any suspects nor the alleged crime.

But last week the Academy said it had provided investigators with findings of an internal probe into grant payments to a cultural club formerly run by Jean-Claude Arnault, a French arts figure accused of sexual assault.

Arnault denies the allegations.

The club showcased exhibitions, readings and performances by both the cultural elite and hopefuls, including Nobel literature laureates.

Arnault's connection to the Academy rocked the prestigious institution and forced its head Sara Danius to resign after failing to contain a fallout.

It has admitted that giving subsidies to the club was a conflict of interest ,as Arnault is married to former academy member Katarina Frostenson, who owned half of the club, which has now closed.

In the midst of the global #MeToo wave, the daily Dagens Nyheter published in November the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have suffered sexual violence or harassment by the Frenchman.

Meanwhile, the Academy has broken all ties with him and cut the grants to the club.

Stockholm prosecutors announced in mid-March that parts of the investigation against him -- concerning allegations of rape and assault between 2013 and 2015 -- had been dropped due to lack of evidence.

But other alleged crimes, which have not been specified, are still being investigated.