STOCKHOLM — Bankrupt Swedish real estate tycoon Hans Thulin had as much as $17 million sheltered offshore at a time when the Swedish government was pursuing him in court for millions of dollars in unpaid debts, according to secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and reviewed by Fokus, Sweden’s leading newsmagazine.
Details of Thulin’s offshore holdings are big news in Sweden because he has been one of the Swedish state’s largest debtors — and because he’s well-remembered in his native country as a lavish collector of art and luxury cars and a symbol of the high-flying, easy-credit ’80s. It was the fall of his commercial property empire that helped signal the beginning of Sweden’s 1990 real estate meltdown.
A government-owned company that had taken over bad debts owed by Thulin sued him in 2007, seeking to force him to repay business loans he’d defaulted on. A trial court imposed a judgment of 150 million Swedish crowns against him in 2009.
By early 2013, the total debt and interest Thulin owed the government had grown to 179 million crowns ($28 million).