Sweden’s environmental protection lawyer resigns over corruption allegations

An environmental protection attorney in Sweden is resigning after he was arrested and charged with corruption, the Swedish Justice Ministry said on Tuesday.

Swedish police on Sunday arrested and detained former Swedish Environment Protection Agency (Uppsala) chief Björn Eriksson and two of his staff, accusing them of fraud over millions of kronor ($17 million).

Eriksson was initially arrested on Monday in Stockholm and later released on bail.

The charges were upgraded to embezzlement.

He denies wrongdoing.

Sweden has been plagued by graft scandals for years.

A former head of the country’s environmental department resigned last month over allegations that he was linked to bribery.

Erikson was appointed by the Swedish government in June to head Uppsala, a ministry he was also charged with running.

He resigned from Uppsals department on Friday.

He was not immediately available for comment.

The charges stem from an investigation that the Sweden Democrats, an anti-corruption group, said had uncovered a scheme to manipulate public funds.

They accused Erikson and his deputy, who was also arrested, of receiving more than 30 million kronors ($1.5 million) in bribes, and of failing to disclose their roles in the scheme.

Ersons office had denied wrongdoing and claimed that the allegations against him were politically motivated.

Swedes environmental protection agency has been under scrutiny since last year after it was revealed that it had received more than 300 million krons ($1 million) from the Uppsal government between 2004 and 2014.