updated 6/17/2005 9:11:50 AM ET 2005-06-17T13:11:50

A Swedish judge has been fined for soliciting prostitutes, the third such case to rock the country's legal system in little more than a year, a prosecutor said Friday.

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The judge, who was not identified by name, has admitted to trying to buy sex from three prostitutes at an illegal bordello that posed as a tanning salon in Malmo, southern Sweden, prosecutor Mats Svensson said.

Last month, in another highly publicized case, a Supreme Court judge was fined after admitting he solicited a male prostitute. And last year, a judge on the Malmo District Court went into early retirement after admitting he bought sex from a prostitute.

Sven-Erik Alhem, director of the Public Prosecution Authority, said Thursday that the three cases added up to "a disaster for the confidence in the justice system."

"It's deeply worrying now that it's several cases," Alhem told newspaper Expressen. "It can lead to a mistrust of all of us who work in the justice system."

Buying is illegal
Buying sexual favors is illegal in Sweden, although it is legal to sell them.

In the latest case, the judge solicited sex during a phone call to the salon, but the purchase was not completed because he was unable to get to the salon before closing time, Svensson said.

"The salon closed at eight, and he couldn't get in to Malmo in time," Svensson said. "That's the only reason it didn't happen."

The judge agreed to pay a 21,000 kronor ($2,741) fine, but will keep his job on a district court in southern Sweden.

Svensson said 67 people were suspected of soliciting prostitutes at the salon, of which 23 have admitted to doing so.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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