November 29, 2019 / 2:55 PM / 17 days ago

Sweden charges EU parliament member with sexual molestation

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Prosecutors on Friday charged a Swedish member of the European Parliament with sexual molestation, a move challenged by the politician, Peter Lundgren of the anti-immigrant nationalist party the Sweden Democrats.

The Prosecution Authority said in a statement the alleged incident took place in a hotel room on the outskirts of Stockholm in March 2018.

Lundgren was named in a court document as the person charged.

“To me it has been clear from the very beginning that this is not a matter for the Swedish legal system - a stance that I maintain,” Lundgren said in a comment emailed by a Sweden Democrats spokesman. “No irregularities have simply taken place.”

Prosecutors had opened an investigation into the alleged crime in May.

In a video the party posted on YouTube in May, Lundgren said he had behaved rudely towards, and apologised to, a party colleague who in the same video said she wasn’t planning to make a police complaint.

In Sweden, members of the public can make complaints to the police about certain crimes.

“We have from the start had a good dialogue with involved parties and we have therefore seen the matter as closed. Looking at the new information that has emerged, we’ll have to await the process that our judicial authority carries out,” a Sweden Democrats spokesman said in an email.

The party is the third-biggest in the Swedish parliament. In some recent opinion polls the party has been neck-and-neck with the biggest party the Social Democrats, and in a poll this month it overtook the Social Democrats.

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Helena Soderpalm, Editing by William Maclean

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