Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Conflict of Interest

Carl Bildt, who recently became Sweden’s foreign minister, has been told by Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt that he can keep his shareholdings in the Russian-owned Vostok Nafta investment concern, 91% of whose shares are in Russia’s Gazprom, Dagens Nyheter reports.

The paper notes that the connection with Gazprom raises problems for Bildt: he could end up in a situation where he has to represent the interests of Sweden and the European Union in relation to Russia at the same time as he has financial interests in a company that is largely owned by the Russian state. It seems probable that he will sell the shares, or otherwise dispose of them. Some of Bildt's critics are, however, doubtful that he will indeed do so.

Update (October 28): Carl Bildt has now announced that he will sell his Vostok Nafta shares and options at the end of this year.
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