Despite the Swedish Civil Contigencies Agency's (MSB) general advice against unnecessary travel, its director general Dan Eliasson travelled on a Christmas and New Year vacation to the Canary Islands, the newspaper Expressen reported.
Amid the public outrage that ensued, Eliasson fought back that the trip was “necessary”.
“I have given up a lot of trips during this pandemic, but I thought this was necessary,” Dan Eliasson told Expressen. “I have, of course, been free during the Christmas holidays and I have worked a lot from distance,” Eliasson added, somewhat enigmatically.
However, subsequent Instagram photos revealed that Eliasson, 59, celebrated the New Year on a balcony in Las Palmas together with national broadcaster SVT reporter and gay activist Erik Galli, 29, and gay media personality Fredrik Söderholm, 29. The investigative website Stoppa Pressarna described Erik Galli and Fredrik Söderholm as “having a name for their somewhat hedonistic lifestyle with partying as if there was no tomorrow”. Dan Eliasson reportedly bought the younger gay men alcohol and partied into the small hours.
“Dan had it mega-nice, he was a real cosy uncle who served Fredrik and Erik drinks. They may be quite bitchy, but they really like Dan. They think he is super nice and that the nagging about this trip is so tiring,” an anonymous person with insight into the event told Stoppa Pressarna.
According to the news outlet Nyheter Idag, the top bureaucrat and fixture of the Social Democrat party also visited a gay club in Puerto Rico in southern Gran Canaria the day before New Year's Eve. According to some sources, the director general arrived “together with a red-haired Norwegian guy” said to be in his 20s and “not completely unknown within Gran Canaria's gay community”.
“There was no necking, they were nice and sober, but it was obvious that there was a liking,” Nyheter Idag's source said. The source at the gay club also complained of Eliasson “tipping poorly”.
As of today, only 6 percent of Swedes have confidence in Eliasson, according to a survey by newspaper Aftonbladet and pollster Demoskop.
Coincidentally, confidence in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven also dropped by 7 percent, from 38 to 31 percent, following the scandals with Justice Minister Morgan Johansson going on a shopping spree, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson's skiing tour in the mountains and Löfven's own visit to the mall – all despite the government's firm request to stay at home.
“Many people seem to think this constitutes double standards. We have been told that we should cancel everything, abstain from travelling and visiting relatives and not meet in larger groups. For many it seems that the restrictions don't apply to the ministers themselves,” Demoskop CEO Karin Nelsson told Aftonbladet.
Vi avråder från att alla resor utom de som generaldirektören upplever som nödvändiga för egen del. https://t.co/KYvXliRV07— Viktor Barth-Kron (@viktorbk) January 2, 2021
Tweet: "We advise against all travel except those that the CEO considers necessary for his own part".
This is not the first time Dan Eliasson has landed it hot water. He was previously Director General of the Swedish Migration Board and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. He was forced to resign as National Police Chief and became head of MSB. Stoppa Pressarna described him as “best known for always being fired and always landing softly”.
According to a source of the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Eliasson is a Social Democrat insider and possesses a lot of compromising information, which is why his political career never ends.
“He is part of a close circle. If the party humiliates him, there is a risk that sooner or later he will tell what he knows about what has happened in various contexts,” the source said.
Ironically, when Dan Eliasson was younger, he played in a punk band called Bad Boo Band. The band's biggest hit was the single 'Knulla i Bangkok' (F***ing in Bangkok) which was released in 1979.