Sundqvist was elected into the Parliament in 1970 and he served as the minister of education in three cabinets between 1972 and 1975. He was the minister of trade and industry from 1979 to 1981. Sundqvist left the parliament in 1983 and worked as the manager of STS Bank from 1982 to 1991. However, STS was drawn into reckless lending in the late 1980s, and with the early 1990s recession in Finland, STS was bailed out by the government and sold at a loss to KOP. Although Sundquist was personally involved in some minor financial irregularities, the main thrust of accusations against him was still incompetent management and reckless lending.
He was elected as the Chairman of SDP in November 1991, and he was replaced by Paavo Lipponen in June 1993. In 1993, Sundqvist was accused of fraud (charges he was later cleared from) and he had to resign as the chairman. In a civil trial, he was held financially responsible for the demise of STS, and was ordered to pay damages. However, he shirked this by intentionally keeping multiple credit accounts overdrawn. As a result, he was convicted of aggravated debtor's dishonesty. He was sentenced to pay back 16.4 million Finnish marks, but only 1.2 million marks was recovered. He also received a 6 months suspended prison sentence. Arja Alho used her authority as the second minister of finance to lower Sundqvist's financial liabilities in 1997, and had to resign.
Nowadays Sundqvist is an entrepreneur and a management consultant. He has his own company, Navinor Oy, and he works as a senior consultant at Kreab Gavin Anderson.
A smoker for 40 years, Sundqvist suffered a heart attack in Stockholm in 2004. At the age of 61, he was diagnosed with mouth cancer. In 2007, a benign brain tumour (unrelated to the cancer) was found.
- "Edustajamatrikkeli". Eduskunta.
- Helsingin Sanomat. Sundqvist conviction stays in force. 11.4.2001. http://www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20010411IE6
- Suusyöpä yllätti Ulf Sundqvistin
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