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Rheumatism charity faces review over lost research cash

The Swedish Rheumatism Assocation (Reumatikerförbundet) faces an external inquiry into its expenses over accusations that it has used 8 million Swedish kronor (€950,000) from its research fund to cover a budget shortfall.

The announcement was made in a statement by the foundation on 15 February, saying the reason for the audit is that the organisation has “failed to provide clear answers to questions from the media about how they have used the money collected for rheumatism research”.

An article in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper on the same day claimed that, based on the association’s annual report, it was clear that eight million had disappeared from its research fund in 2011—a figure it claimed to have confirmed with several other sources. It also reported that the organisation’s chairwoman Anne Carlsson has for seven years enjoyed free travel and a flat in Stockholm at the charity’s expense.

“The situation that has arisen is serious and I’m very sorry about how this affects our important work,” said the organisation’s director general Magdalena Olsson in a statement. “In the event of any wrongdoing, it is my view that it cannot be close to the amount that Dagens Nyheter has reported. My problem is that, under the current circumstances, I cannot give a straight and clear answer to these questions and I cannot account for our economy down to the last penny. That is precisely why we need external help to review our economy.”

The review will be carried out by the the global financial services firm KPMG.