It is called the flagship of Swedish health care: the modern, new university hospital New Karolinska Solna. But, according to an investigation by Swedish TV program “Uppdrag granskning” (Mission: Investigation), large sums from the prestigious project are routed to the tax haven of Luxembourg.
New Karolinska Solna (NKS), a high-tech new hospital, is one of the most expensive projects in Sweden. But the project has received mixed reviews since 2010, when Swedish authorities gave a single bidder the contract in a public-private partnership (PPP) – not only to build the hospital but also account for the financing and maintenance for decades to come.
“We know to the single Crown what this will cost. There are no surprises for the taxpayers. We have full control, there are no secrets. This project bears close examination,” said Torbjorn Rosdahl, leading politician for the Conservative party ordering the NKS-hospital.
What the politicians in the Stockholm county did not know, and did not ask about, was how the company Swedish Hospital Partners (SHP), owned by Swedish construction giant Skanska and British investment company Innisfree, had created business structures using subsidiaries in Luxembourg that would lead to drastically-reduced tax bills in Sweden.
A few months after SHP was awarded the 52 billion Swedish Crown NKS contract, multinational auditing and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was commissioned by Innisfree to create a new tax structure in Luxembourg. The confidential arrangement between the company and the Luxembourg government has now been revealed as part of a cache of more than 500 leaked tax rulings and financial documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and reviewed by SVT.
Sweden is one of the top-ten countries with the most companies in the Lux Leaks database, which includes household names such as IKEA and Tele2, as well as Swedish venture capital companies, food industry, hotels, and healthcare companies. And Swedish Hospital Partners.