Maria Borelius

Maria Borelius
Maria Borelius
Minister for Foreign Trade
In office
6 October 2006 – 14 October 2006
Preceded by Thomas Östros
Succeeded by Sten Tolgfors
Personal details
Born 6 July 1960 (1960-07-06) (age 51)
Täby, Stockholm County
Political party Moderate Party
Alma mater Lund University
New York University
Occupation Journalist, entrepreneur

Maria Sigrid Astrid Borelius (born 6 July 1960) is a Swedish journalist, entrepreneur and former politician. Following the 2006 Swedish general election she was elected a Member of Parliament for the Moderate Party, and on 6 October 2006 she was presented as Minister for Foreign Trade in Fredrik Reinfeldt's new centre-right cabinet.[1] However, on 14 October 2006, after just eight days in office, she resigned from her post and politics following a number of allegations of tax avoidance and tax evasion in the media,[2] the so called "Nannygate".


Education and career

Maria Borelius was born in Täby in Stockholm County. She is a trained biologist, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Lund University in 1984 and a Master of Science degree in journalism from New York University in 1986.[1] Borelius started a career as a television journalist as one of four presenters on the television program Trekvart in 1989. She has worked as a science reporter at Rapport in Sveriges Television and as a presenter of Nova and Vetenskapens värld on the same channel, and Vetandets värld in Sveriges Radio. She has also worked as a columnist in Dagens Industri and as a television host at Swedish TV8. In 1998 she started the e-learning television channel "K-World" with business partner Annie Wegelius. The company was dissolved in 2002 after a SEK700m bankruptcy.[3][4] Before being appointed Minister for Foreign Trade, Borelius was a member of the board at several Swedish companies: Active Biotech, SWECO, Telelogic and Södra cell.

Borelius has published popular scientific articles and books, and books on parenting. Several have been accused of pseudoscientific content[5] Maria Borelius is married and has four children. She live with her husband in London after abandoning her plans on returning to Djursholm outside of Stockholm.[6]

Political career

Borelius joined the Moderate Party and became a candidate for the Riksdag in 2005. Following the 2006 general election on September 17, 2006, Borelius was elected to represent Stockholm County (seat 282) in the Swedish parliament. On October 6, 2006 she was surprisingly selected by the newly elected Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to hold the post of Minister for Foreign Trade in his cabinet. However, during the period October 7 to October 14, 2006 a series of media revelations into the newly appointed minister led to her resignation after eight days in office.

Political controversies

Nanny controversy

On October 7, 2006, the day after the Cabinet of Fredrik Reinfeldt was announced two of the ministers, Maria Borelius and Cecilia Stegö Chilò, voluntarily admitted that they had previously employed persons to take care of their children (nannies) without paying the employment (payroll) tax, employer's contribution (Swedish: Arbetsgivaravgifter). Initially neither of them faced any judicial inquiry following their admissions since the events occurred more than five years ago, which put it outside of the statute of limitations.

In explanation, Borelius stated that: "I'm a mother of four and I was running my own company. It never would have worked otherwise".[7] However, during interviews with the media Borelius stated that she "would never have been able to afford all the fees" if she also had paid the taxes. This was soon contradicted by Magnus Ljungkvist, member of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and press secretary for the Social Democrats in the Stockholm County administration.[8] According to Ljungkvists research into Borelius and her husband's income-tax returns, the couple earned 17 million kronor during the 1990s. Moreover, Borelius inherited a house worth four million kronor from her father in 1996. Ljungkvist, who used public sources, published his findings on his blog,[9] which was then picked up by mainstream media.[8] Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt initially stated that while he did not think that Borelius explanation was a good one, he still had faith in her abilities as a minister. "She has assured me that she considers it to be wrong to use 'black' services, and that she does not intend to do so in the future. I have tolerated that as an answer", the Prime Minister said.[10]

TV licence controversy

On October 11, 2006 it came to light that Borelius has not paid her TV license since she returned from the United Kingdom on August 21, 2006. On October 12, 2006 Radiotjänst i Kiruna AB, a private agency tasked with collecting the license fees, filed criminal charges against Borelius and two other ministers in the Reinfeldt Cabinet, Tobias Billström and Cecilia Stegö Chilò.[11]

Other issues

On October 13, 2006 it was revealed that Borelius is also being investigated by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority for financial irregularities concerning the sale of shares in the company "Active Biotech" where Borelius is a member of the board. Under Swedish law such a transaction must be reported within five days.[12] On the same day it was also revealed that Borelius' husband Greger Larsson owns a vacation home in the resort of Falsterbo in Southern Sweden. However the property is officially registered to "Full Moon Investments Limited", a company based in the tax haven of Jersey.[12] On October 14, 2006 the existence of an apartment in Cannes, France with a similar arrangement came to light. The apartment in France is registered to "Soleil Investment Limited".[13]


In the afternoon of October 14, 2006 Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announced that Maria Borelius had tendered her resignation.[2] She also left her seat in the Swedish parliament at the same time.[14][15] With her eight days in office, Borelius holds the Swedish record for shortest tenure as a government minister.


  1. ^ a b Biography Maria Borelius - Minister for Foreign Trade (English), Government of Sweden website.
  2. ^ a b Borelius resigns (English), The Local, October 14, 2006
  3. ^ K-world kostade ägarna 700 Mkr (Swedish), Dagens Industri, May 3, 2002.
  4. ^ Borelius bolag var konkursmässigt (Swedish), Aftonbladet, October 13, 2006.
  5. ^ Så blir du en bättre förälder. (Swedish), Aftonbladet, October 25, 2002.
  6. ^ Maria Borelius at the Moderate Party website.
  7. ^ Ministers admit nanny tax dodges (English), The Local, October 7, 2006.
  8. ^ a b Bloggaren som fällde Borelius (Swedish), Aftonbladet, October 14, 2006.
  9. ^ Magnus Ljungkvists blog
  10. ^ Minister who skipped nanny's tax 'earned millions' (English), The Local, October 10, 2006.
  11. ^ Ministers reported to police for unpaid TV licences (English), The Local, October 13, 2006.
  12. ^ a b Pressure grows on Swedish trade minister (English), The Local, October 13, 2006.
  13. ^ Lyxbostad nummer 3 (Swedish), Aftonbladet, October 14, 2006.
  14. ^ Sweden's trade minister to quit (English), BBC News, October 14, 2006.
  15. ^ Swedish 'tax dodge' minister quits (English), CNN, October 14, 2006.

External links

Preceded by
Thomas Östros
Minister for Foreign Trade
Succeeded by
Sten Tolgfors

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