• Sweden edition
Princess accused of taking honeymoon bribe

Princess accused of taking honeymoon bribe

Published: 09 Aug 2010 19:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Aug 2010 19:16 GMT+02:00

Sweden's tabloids have reported that Bertil Hult, the founder of language course organizer EF, lent the couple his plane, yacht and house in Colorado for their honeymoon, which they spent in French Polynesia and in North America. The value of the gift has been estimated at several million kronor by tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet.

Now, prosecutors at the National Anti-Corruption Unit have received three complaints about the gift from members of the public. They claim it constitutes a bribe, as Victoria has attended events hosted by Hult’s companies and charities in an official capacity:

“Given that the couple, or at least the Crown Princess, thereby have a business relationship, it could be the case that the gifts constitute bribery,” read one of the complaints.

Chief prosecutor Gunnar Stetler said he would look at the evidence before deciding whether to open an investigation.

“The complaints claim that the present Bertil Hult gave to the Crown Princess and Prince Daniel was a bribe or an improper reward,” Stetler told The Local.

Stetler will now consider whether the gift could fall foul of Sweden’s bribery legislation:

“There are a number of questions that I will need to consider, such as whether she is a public official as defined by the law.”

Not every gift to a public official is classed as a bribe in Sweden, he said:

“Of course you can give gifts without it necessarily falling under bribery legislation,” he told The Local.

“You have to look at questions such as the kind of relationship the parties have with each other,” he said.

Peter Wolodarski, a columnist for Dagens Nyheter, questioned the couple’s acceptance of Hult’s hospitality in an article on Monday:

“Nobody would deny the bride and groom the pleasure of being able to get away after marrying. But it’s still remarkable the heir to Sweden’s throne allows a Swedish billionaire to pay for transport and lodgings during the honeymoon, when the same person through his training company EF could have a potential interest in receiving favours in return,” Wolodarski wrote.

Royal spokeswoman Ulrika Näsholm told Expressen that the honeymoon was a private trip:

“It was a wedding present from an old friend of the Royal Family,” she said.

Prosecutors will decide within two weeks whether to open a formal investigation into the gift.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:50 August 9, 2010 by eddie123
ha! give them a break... what manner of bribe
19:55 August 9, 2010 by voyager
tax payers pay for the weding, tycoon pays for the honeymoon, life must be just great.
20:04 August 9, 2010 by Purisai
Peter Wolodarski needs a life. Y
20:24 August 9, 2010 by skatty
National Anti-Corruption Unit! Never heard about it, I wish was one in my country!!
20:29 August 9, 2010 by eddie123

i thought must countries have an anti-corruption unit within the police force or in some instances, as a separate unit enshrined in law. I'm shocked your country does not have one. are you from Switzerland?
21:38 August 9, 2010 by krow
Are you kidding me? Who cares whether she is a public officer. She just got married. and need to have some good time with her husband for God sake. The tycon guy is a personal friend. Go get a life complaners
21:50 August 9, 2010 by mjennin2
Royals! Wedding gifts! Scandal!

For the love of God. Anyone with even one SHRED of mental capacity would have known that, if they really wanted to claim that this was a bribe and go after the royal family, they needed to have waited for a crime to have been COMMITTED first. So either we have a malcontented anti-monarchy Sthlm tax payer who fell upon this information and wanted to cash in via tabloid payoffs, or else we have someone (possibly an EF competitor?) who learned of this information and was so eager in his anger to bust the royal couple (or, more likely, the tycoon) for [potential] foul play, that he didn't wait for an actual crime to be committed before trying to stick it to them.

How can it be a bribe if no bribery activity has yet taken place??? Wait for the Tycoon to win a bid over his competitors and THEN cry foul. And, if it was a retroactive gift in exchage for a bid previously given to the tycoon by the royal family, so long as they kept their paper trail discreet, there is no way to prove that this was an "improper reward" and not -- wait for it! -- a WEDDING GIFT. Shocking to think someone whould give a wedding gift to a newly wedded couple, I know. Besides, it's not like the guy bought them a plane, house and yacht; he just let them BORROW it.
21:57 August 9, 2010 by misssh
what a bunch of retards who cares if they got given a gift like that for there honeymoon he must be jealous
22:20 August 9, 2010 by xykat
Poor Victoria,,,,, This is the woman's honeymoon for god sakes. Like any human being she deserves happiness. Leaver her alone!

Republicans, be thankful the state didn't pay for this.

From my understanding this was a gift. Married couples should not be persecuted for getting gifts..
23:22 August 9, 2010 by calebian22
If the tycoon didn't pay the taxpayer would have, so thanks rich guy.
23:24 August 9, 2010 by glamelixir
If a tycoon really payed then I am happy! haha, but give me my money back from the wedding damn it.
00:38 August 10, 2010 by blondelover
I am wondering, What happened to the couples after marriage no news but when they landed a big surprise :)

Princess of Vicotria their are some bunch of peoples always complaint and never satisfied with anything even sometimes they say gift as a bribe.
00:40 August 10, 2010 by scrawler
#13 Again . Check the spelling before commenting dude
01:04 August 10, 2010 by GLO
Who cares !!!!
02:25 August 10, 2010 by markusd
I'm guessing that Victoria made the mistake of applying common sense logic to the situation. She was probably thinking something like, "I have no real power to do anything, he's not asking for anything in return and the gift is being given in full view of everyone in the world so there shouldn't be a problem."

What she probably should have been thinking is, "There's always some useless government bureaucrat looking to get a promotion."
05:24 August 10, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Just think, by taking a bribe, they saved the taxpayer some clams.
05:41 August 10, 2010 by waffen
This was a gift. Period.

A billionaire can afford to give a gift like this because to him this amounts to pocket change.

He is already a billionaire, so he does not need the good graces of Victoria or anyone else.

Let the poor girl alone to enjoy her new life.
06:07 August 10, 2010 by misssh
#14 u r a idiot
06:25 August 10, 2010 by engagebrain
No 'gift' of this size comes without baggage and anyone receiving a gift of this size must realize that some payback is implicit.
08:00 August 10, 2010 by Markus D
This is TOTALLY ridiculous.

The quicker Gunnar Stetler from the National Anti-Corruption Unit rejects this stupid allegation the better.
08:34 August 10, 2010 by Tickled
I think this calls for water boarding. No other way can the investigators get to the truth ;)
09:03 August 10, 2010 by LeoKinmann
Princess Victoria made the mistake of treating the weasles among men as human being. they are always ready to strike when you least expect it.
09:05 August 10, 2010 by izbz

If my best friend from Malaysia get marry, I would definately willing to buy him a ticket to SWeden and lend the married couple my apartment for amonth for their honeymoon. (mind you, I am just an ordinary working class) Does that means that it will come with a baggage.?

Just give the newly weds a break and stop all these slandering and dumb comments!!!!!

Maybe engagebrain should engage waffen's brain before commenting( Logical comments by waffen#17)
09:21 August 10, 2010 by zooeden
Get a life!!!
09:24 August 10, 2010 by concha de tu puta madre
Good to see there are some common sense in Sweden. I say look into the bribery case just as they would with any other politician.
10:49 August 10, 2010 by salalah
Let the Royals be entirely sponsored by private businesses, with product placements and sponsorhips. Then we taxpayers could get a break. As long as we pay our taxes to them, they are indeed public figures.
11:23 August 10, 2010 by Mr Gee
"Prosecutors at the National Anti-Corruption Unit have received three complaints about the gift from members of the public. They claim it constitutes a bribe..."

I wonder what could be the problem with the three miserable whingers. Maybe they are jealous types becuase they, themselves are ignored.

Clearly, nobody loves them; but who would want them anyway?

The 'Prosecutors' leap into action because they have permission to proceed from comments made by just three whingers.

So, now public money is being used to investigate a complete worthless case. It's a disgrace that anyone should even think the comments are worth investigating. It should be stopped immediately by someone who has common sense and in authority - oh dear, now that is a problem (in authority and common sense).

In the final analysis maybe we are doomed to having to bow down to the lowest forms of life i.e. jealous,miserable whingers; the ones who gossip, living the life of their neighbours as they peek through the windows (I have two next door!)
12:24 August 10, 2010 by hugedingleberry
I fart in their general direction. Their mother was a hamster and their father smells of elderberries. Japp, thats right.
13:29 August 10, 2010 by Audrian
I have not doubt that the princess and the prince are honest people, but can the same thing be said about the rich man who gave them the equivalent of over a million Sek. I do not know. What I know about business people is that they take every opportunity to make money by buying the service of public servants. This is particularly true of US Senators who receive money from corporations (or go back to a private sector job that pay them millions of dollars). In return to the favor, they pass bills that support corporations make big money. The royal family might not have power but they have the ability to influence public opinion. The turn out of people for the wedding of the two royalties is a testimony to this power.

My suggestion is that the state should refund the rich man and the lift the cloud of doubt that this interaction might compromise their future roles. In the meanwhile a law should be passed that the royal family should not accept any favor from any section of the society so that they would serve the interest of all Swedish people without prejudice. As long as royalty exists it should be made sure that they are not short of money. If they had enough money this would not have needed to borrow a house. They would probably have had a lot of choices for their honeymoon destination.
15:42 August 10, 2010 by AirForceGuy
as we used to say in the US Government...if it looks like a bribe and smells lik a bribe... it probably IS a bribe...
15:44 August 10, 2010 by krow
By my calculation, I think they were trying to save the taxpayer money by borrowing without payment from the rich guy who so far is a clean businessman. The real problem here is the tax payers money that will be used in the investigation. No common sense. Maybe common sense is not common in sweden anymore.
15:55 August 10, 2010 by Lovelygirl
The question here is who paid for the gas of the plane.... :P
15:59 August 10, 2010 by concha de tu puta madre
Audrian, we have already paid over 150M SEK for their wedding. Why should we also pay for their expensive honeymoon? If any refund should be giving then it should come out from their own pockets. I had to pay for my three days honeymoon in Epcot center ;-))))))
16:05 August 10, 2010 by krow
Come on give them a break. That is why foreigners dont respect anything swedish because of jealousy. I dont think the family is that poor or the princess herself not to afford buying gas for the plane.
19:56 August 10, 2010 by tuerd1982
wow, this is the sprite.
20:16 August 10, 2010 by wxman
FTA: "There are a number of questions that I will need to consider, such as whether she is a public official as defined by the law."

Precisely. To have taken a bribe, you must be a public official who has a position of power and influence with which to "pay back" the bribe. She's royalty, but has no power over anything or anyone. Therefore this was a wedding gift, not a bribe.
20:43 August 10, 2010 by azedine
its a scandal if the story is true
00:06 August 11, 2010 by wenddiver
Thank God the Girl is thrifty!!!!

I spent $30,000 on just Bar-B-Que, so I could marry off my little sister. Don't even start on alcohol, bands, a hall, a gown like a princess, limosines, airline tickets, engraved champagne glasses, match books with their names on it. I would gladly have given them $40,000 to elope and tell me about it later.

If she can get it paid for by influence peddling, I say good girl, you are smarter than my idiot relatives.
02:36 August 11, 2010 by Archie1954
Why does the press give any publicity to such outrageous accusations? Is it that important to sell newspapers? The Princess and her husband are probably the nicest people anyone would ever have the pleasure of meeting and wouldn't countenance anything resembling a bribe if they were offered one, which in this case did not happen. I can assure you of that. Somtimes I really wonder about the press.
04:34 August 11, 2010 by Da Goat
FFS can't a girl get married in peace anymore without some idiot smelling a rat!
06:12 August 11, 2010 by glamelixir

exactly, I agree.
09:34 August 11, 2010 by Mr Gee

Unfortunately I think you are 100% correct in that it is 'important to sell newspapers' - at least that is the view of the newspapers!

A newspaper (or any media) is simply a commercial entity publishing whatever it thinks people will buy. Alongside that is that the media is also irritatingly a self-important organisation.

From what I understand about Swedish culture it is frowned on to to be self-important (I agree with this philosophy) but the newspapers never aspire to rise to this way of thinking, I guess it's because it means less money to them. So they prefer to remain closer to lower forms of life the murky sediment!

There's a saying in UK "where there's muck there's brass" (brass= money). A good saying for the newspapers and media don't you think?
15:13 August 11, 2010 by grantike
whatever Afton bladet you have been wrong before and you will be wrong this time.i guess some money was saved for crap humans who will come here and shout "TAX-PAYERS MONEY" or SAY send foreigners AWAY. THEY ARE USING using tax-payers money .bribe or no bribe do i care .HELL NO
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