STOCKHOLM — One of Sweden’s most senior police officers has been found dead at his home, in an incident described by police as “extremely tragic”.
Mats Lofving, who was Stockholm’s regional police chief, had just been investigated over decisions he made while allegedly in a relationship with the ex-head of police intelligence.
Police said they were alerted about an injured person in Norrköping, 160km (100 miles) south-west of Stockholm. His life could not be saved, they said.
A spokesman told Swedish media that police had begun a preliminary murder inquiry because the circumstances surrounding his death were still uncertain.
Hours earlier, an external investigation had found that Lofving, 61, who was also deputy national police chief, had a conflict of interest in some of the decisions he made relating to Linda Staaf, who was the intelligence chief at the police national operations department ( Noah).
Staaf has repeatedly maintained her relationship with Lofving was only ever superficial, and they were never close.
She was appointed intelligence chief in 2015, but Runar Viksten, the special investigator who led the review, found no evidence that she and Lofving were in a relationship at that time.
The police chief was involved in assigning her service weapon in 2020, extending her contract and raising her salary, and also giving her permission to write a crime novel.
While his decisions were neither incorrect nor undeserved, Lofving should not have made them, the investigator found.
Lofving told Sweden’s public broadcaster on Wednesday that the findings had been hard to hear. The report had suggested he should either lose his role as police chief or leave the force completely.
Hours before news of his death emerged, Staaf said she had been well qualified for her job and she felt vindicated as the investigation had concluded that decisions made about her had been right.
However, she felt the police authority could have given her greater support. Last December she told Swedish media that she had been the victim of a “smear campaign”.
Viksten was about to enter a Swedish TV studio on Wednesday evening to discuss his findings but canceled his interview when news emerged of the police chief’s death.
He told Swedish media his conclusions remained unchanged, but “repeating my criticism in a TV broadcast didn’t feel right. What happened is extremely tragic”.
The head of the police union, Katharina von Sydow, said Mats Lofving’s death was incredibly sad and that her thoughts went out to his family, friends and colleagues. BBC