Thursday 18 October 2018

Man at centre of Nobel scandal charged with rape

Prosecutors said the evidence against Jean-Claude Arnault is ‘robust and sufficient for prosecution’.

Jean Claude Arnault (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP, File)
Jean Claude Arnault (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP, File)

By Jan M Olsen

The man at the centre of a sex abuse and financial crimes scandal at the academy that awards the Nobel Prize in literature has been charged with two counts of rape of a woman in 2011.

Swedish prosecutor Christina Voigt said the evidence against Jean-Claude Arnault is ‘robust and sufficient for prosecution”.

Arnault, a well-known figure in Sweden who ran a cultural centre, is married to poet and member of the Swedish Academy Katarina Frostenson. He has denied this and other sex abuse allegations.

In April, the Swedish Academy said an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations found that “unacceptable behavior in the form of unwanted intimacy” has taken place within the ranks of the prestigious institution.

The secretive 18-member board has in recent months been embroiled in a sex abuse scandal that investigators concluded was “not generally known”.

It has led to the departure of at least six of members of the academy and tarnished the prize’s reputation.

The academy had commissioned lawyers to investigate sexual misconduct claims from 18 women against Arnault. In April, it decided to hand over the internal report to judicial authorities.

Violence was used in one case involving Arnault, and in the second incident the victim was asleep, Ms Voight said, adding that seven people back the victim’s claim.

Many in the Scandinavian nation, known for promoting gender equality, have expressed concerns over the case that has exposed bitter divisions within the academy, whose members are appointed for life, and given rise to accusations of patriarchal leanings among some members.

Last month, the academy announced that no prize will be awarded this year.

The protest has grown out of what began as Sweden’s own #MeToo moment in November when the country saw thousands of sexual misconduct allegations surfacing from all walks of life.

It hit the academy when 18 women came forward in a Swedish newspaper with accusations against Arnault.

He was banned in December by the academy from attending a Nobel banquet after Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, published the allegations.

Arnault has also been suspected of violating century-old Nobel rules by leaking names of winners of the prestigious award. He has allegedly leaked winners’ names seven times, starting in 1996. It was not clear who the names were disclosed to.

Press Association

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