A new book about the wealth of the royal family has been publishedThe king is much wealthier than what he himself has previously stated in his tax declarations.
His hidden fortune amounts to billions and consists of jewels, art and antiques.
This claims economist Thomas Lyrevik, former official of the Ministry of Finance, in the book "Den kungliga kleptokratin".
- We have advised the King not to read the book, court marshal Fredrik Wersäll says to Expressen.https://www.expressen.se/...jrmWv7btDbGxVL8tyJWLS0_J0
Paintings by artists such as Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Frans Hals, silver, porcelain, furniture and very exclusive and expensive jewelry. In the Bernadotte family foundations, there are today hundreds of tons of items of value - and the king is the sole beneficiary.
The Swedish royal family came fifth with a private fortune of SEK 340 million when the British newspaper Daily Mail in 2015 made a compilation of Europe's richest royal houses. They counted the king's privately owned properties, vehicles and securities. It is more than what the king himself declared in fortune in 2006. Then he stated to the Tax Agency that he had a fortune of just over SEK 290 million.
But it is far from what the king and the royal family's private assets and the assets of the family foundations actually amount to. So claims the author Thomas Lyrevik who wrote the book "Den kungliga kleptokratin" where he digs deep into the royal house's business and assets. Lyrevik believes that the market value of the king's and royal family's total individual property and the assets of the family foundations amounts to a two-digit billion amount - just over 30 times more than what the king himself stated to the Tax Agency in 2006. And it is the king himself who owns most of it.
Previous calculations already show that the Swedish royal family is one of the five richest in Europe and the new figures presented by Lyrevik could get them higher up on that list.
According to the author, the value of the royal jewelery is billions. These are owned by the royal family privately or by the Bernadotte family foundations. He also writes that the family foundations' book collections, chandeliers, furniture, vehicles, sculptures, documents, silver and art are worth billions. He has found out the values by studying in detail the inheritances of the royal family and the king over the years. This was made possible via estate inventories after, among other things, the king's grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf and the inheritance of Prince Bertil and the king's parents. Lyrevik has also gone through the applications for tax exemptions that the king submitted to the government in the 1970s. It was about inheritance tax exemptions of assets in three family foundations and the Galliera commission with a large collection of art originally coming from Emperor Napoleon.
The assets of the foundations became public when the king's marshal sent the foundations list of contents to the then-Social Democratic government with Finance Minister Gunnar Sträng. Back then, the assets were valued at a fraction of the real market value, the author claims.
- There were several reasons why the value was written down. They did not want to tell the outside world how rich they were, and it would have been difficult for the government to justify granting a tax exemption if the value had been high, Thomas Lyrevik says.
But the real value is extremely much larger - almost invaluable, writes Lyrevik, who has also been in contact with auction companies, including Sotheby's, and studied how other royal objects have been sold for large sums of money.
Lyrevik also writes that he has been in contact with a retired appraiser who participated in several royal estate inventories. According to the appraiser, two parts were always established: one that was sent to the Swedish Tax Agency where the values were lowered as far as possible and another valuation where the real values of the objects were declared. The latter was not public but only for the heirs.
Expressen has taken a look at Lyrevik's background material and the contents of the Bernadotte family foundations and the inheritance of Gustaf VI Adolf as it was in the 1970s.
There are three folders with lists of art objects - a total of 800 pages with 30 entries on each page and where several items contain more than one object. Here are the values of paintings, carpets, jewels, all surprisingly low. Several tables that belonged to Gustaf VI Adolf were valued at SEK 6 per table, large Persian rugs for SEK 600–1 200, paintings by Anders Zorn, Bruno Liljefors and Carl Larsson each for SEK 12,000–100,000 (all in today's monetary value). Today, Zorn and Carl Larsson paintings are sold for millions.
Remarkable are also the values of the jewels and jewelry found in, for example, the King Oscar II family foundation. A necklace consisting of 84 diamonds older grinding about 85 Carat is valued at just under SEK 600,000 in today's monetary value. A diadem with 34 antique-cut diamonds about 1-5 Carat as well as a larger number of smaller antique-cut brilliant-cut diamonds is valued at just over SEK 600,000.
But the real values in several cases amount to tens of millions of kronor per jewelry.
Antique specialist Tom Österman has taken a look at the lists of assets in the family foundations and in the inventory of the king's grandfather. He thinks that a large part of the objects have been registered at very low values.
- If you were to put together the values of these 800 pages in today's market values, it would be worth billions only there. And if you play with the idea that there would be an auction then I think a two-digit billion amount is not at all impossible, says Österman.
Thomas Lyrevik is critical of the fact that the royal family's private assets and the wealth of the family foundations, which are kept at the royal castles, are cared for and administered with tax revenue.
"The costs have been taken over by taxpayers," he says.
The author is also critical of how poorly the state's grants, which are paid by the taxpayers, are declared in the court's activity reports. And how much money the king takes privately has never been reported. The state grants, which has increased by just over 40 per cent since 2007, currently amounts to SEK 139 million per year.
Expressen met with the Marshal of the Realm, Fredrik Wersäll, treasurer Jan Lindman and director of the press department Margareta Thorgren. Everyone has read the book - but the King hasn't.
They think that there are personal attacks in the new book - but they also believe that in some parts it is ambitiously written.
Fredrik Wersäll also partly confirms Lyrevik's conclusions that the king is worth billions.
- Yes, probably. We don't know that, no one has made a real market valuation and there has been no need to make a valuation. The reason for this is that it is part of the cultural heritage.But if the monarchy were to be abolished, would the assets of the family foundations still accrue to the king and the royal family?
- We have no idea about that, Wersäll says.You don't know that?
- No, how could we know that and I don't want to speculate on it.Because the statutes of the foundations?
- They have been legally reviewed by our lawyers and we have come to the conclusion that they are probably not foundations. They are probably fideikomisser. (??) This means that as long as the monarchy remains, they will not be able to dissolve legally. I cannot imagine that there would be a state power that would accept that a cultural heritage worth ten billion would be dissolved, says Wersäll.But if one disregards the family foundations and only looks at the king's inherited wealth - also worth billions - he has the right to sell items?
- I can't answer that, Wersäll says.But who is in control of all of this?
- If it is his private fortune, it is his private, but for us this is airy-fairy.Why?
- Because it has never happened. Their ambition has been to never dispel the items, they are sufficiently wealthy anyways, Wersäll says, and refers to the royal family's other assets.
The last year that Sweden had wealth tax was in 2006. That year, the king declared a fortune of just over SEK 293 million.Has the King through foundations and the fact that he has not updated the value of his previous inheritance managed to avoid paying millions of property tax?
- I can't imagine that there are tax reasons. I assume that with the auditors' reviews made, these were correct values from a tax point of view. Of course in reality, properties can be worth much more. We know that the total royal personal properties are worth a lot of money, but is part of the royal cultural heritage shown to the public.
But that explanation is strange, Lyrevik says.
- It is a privately owned cultural heritage. Even if it is used and others can take part of it, it is still privately owned and inherited by the family the day when Sweden would no longer be a monarchy. That a family can receive so much money from the state to buy so many of these art treasures, own them privately, place them in foundations and justify this being a cultural heritage. For what other state representatives would we accept this, says Thomas Lyrevik.