Sweden charges man at centre of Nobel scandal

The man at the centre of a sex-abuse and financial crimes scandal that is tarnishing the academy which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, was Tuesday charged with two counts of rape of a woman in 2011.

Swedish prosecutor Christina Voigt said the evidence “is robust and sufficient for prosecution.”

Jean-Claude Arnault, a well-known figure in Sweden who ran a cultural centre, is married to poet and member of the Swedish Academy, Katarina Frostenson. He has denied this and other sex abuse allegations.

In April, the Swedish Academy said an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations found that “unacceptable behaviour in the form of unwanted intimacy” has taken place within the ranks of the prestigious institution.

Violence was used in one case and in the second incident the victim was asleep, Voight told The Associated Press, adding seven people back the victim’s claim.

“We are talking about the same woman and the rapes took place in October and December 2011,” said Voight, who didn’t name the victim as is customary in Sweden.

Scandal roils secretive group

The scandal threw the Swedish Academy into disarray, prompting a number of departures, including that of permanent secretary Sara Danius, the first woman to hold the leadership position. (Jonas Ekstromer/AFP/Getty Images)

The secretive 18-member board has in recent months been embroiled in a sex-abuse scandal that investigators concluded was “not generally known.” It has led to the departure of seven members of the Academy, including Frostenson who stepped down in April at the same time as another woman — the academy’s permanent secretary Sara Danius.

Many in the Scandinavian nation, known for promoting gender equality, have expressed concerns over the case that has exposed bitter divisions within the academy, whose members are appointed for life, and given rise to accusations of patriarchal leanings among some members.

Last month, the academy announced that no prize will be awarded this year.

The protest has grown out of what began as Sweden’s own #MeToo moment in November when the country saw thousands of sexual misconduct allegations surfacing from all walks of life. It hit the academy when 18 women came forward in a Swedish newspaper with accusations against Arnault.

He was banned in December by the academy from attending a Nobel banquet after Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden’s largest, published the allegations.

The academy then commissioned lawyers to investigate sexual misconduct claims.

Arnault has also been suspected of violating century-old Nobel rules by leaking names of winners of the prestigious award. He has allegedly leaked winners’ names seven times, starting in 1996. It was not clear who the names were disclosed to.

The academy subsequently decided to withhold presentation of a Nobel for Literature this year, postponing it until next year’s ceremony. (Fernando Vergara/Associated Press)

The academy said that following what it called “a serious crisis,” it had decided to hand over the report to relevant judicial authorities. The Swedish Economic Crime Authority said it had received the academy report but declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Last year after the first allegations surfaced, annual funding of 126,000 kronor ($12,000) to Arnault’s centre was immediately stopped. The Academy then stressed it had not been paid to Arnault personally.

The probe found no evidence that Arnault “had any direct or indirect influence on” the handing out of funds since it first got it in 2010, but “the decision-making process” was in violation” with its rules because an unnamed person had a share in Arnault’s institution. 

SOURCE: CBC.ca

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