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Politicians say no to free biogas car over bribe risk

Published: 11 Aug 2010 08:47 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Aug 2010 08:47 GMT+02:00

Volkswagen and Eon were hoping to raise the profile of biogas-fuelled cars during the ongoing election campaign by loaning them free of charge to politicians but the risk of being seen as a bribe put a stop to their plans.

"This would have been inappropriate," Roger Berzell of the Social Democrats in Östergötland to the local Folkbaldet daily.

"We have to stay independent, public faith in politicians can be damaged if we would be so openly sponsored in an election campaign."

Erik Fågelsbo at the National Anti-Corruption Unit (Riksenheten för korruption) told the newspaper that it be considered improper reward to a politician, which is not permitted under strict rules governing gifts.

Most of the party districts across the country have been offered the deal but only the Christian Democrats in Skåne, the Green Party in Sörmland, and the Centre party in Jönköping have said accepted.

Elsewhere legal experts have dismissed accusations levelled against Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel for allegedly accepting bribes in connection with their honeymoon.

In an interview with the Dagens Nyheter daily professor Claes Sandgren, chair of the Swedish Institute Against Bribes (Institute Mot Mutor - IMM), said that the loan of a yacht, Colorado mountain chalet, and private jet by Swedish businessman Bertil Hult should be regarded more as a gift between friends than a business arrangement.

"The reflection is that they (the Crown Princess and Prince Daniel) are in a grey zone. In the typical bribery situation there is some sort of influence on a decision or possibility to influence a decision. That is not the case here," he said.

The Local reported on Monday that three people had reported the couple for accepting bribes from the tycoon and that prosecutors were thus looking into the case. Media adviser Paul Ronge told Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday that he doesn't think the majority of Swedes are too upset over the news.

"It feels like a non issue. It is seen mostly as nice that Victoria and Daniel got to get away and have an enjoyable honeymoon," he said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:03 August 11, 2010 by Audrian
Today bribe has taken a different form, gift, favor or loans. It has a corrupting influence. Unlike most western countries Sweden has opportunities to make a stop to it. The way to go about it is to criminalize it, and make the givers and the receivers of gifts (politician, administrators, and guards) liable to persecution without exceptions. The reason being business corporations have tendency to buy influence, as they commonly do in the US.

In the US drug companies, for example, bribe doctors to the tune of about a billion dollars per year to prescribe new drugs that have not received FDA approval, some of which were found to have dangerous side effects. Corporations made billions of dollars of profit on just one or two illegal drugs. If they are finned the cost of the fine is much less than the illegal money they had made. Why this practice goes on unhindered? Bribed politicians/parliamentarians protect big corruptions. Another area of corruption is the military industrial complex, where war profiteering makes war a profitable proposal.

Swedish politicians are by and large clean and the Swedish people should be vigilant so that they stay that way.

I think the royal family should also be protected from such influence by allowing them keep a standard worthy of their position, so that they don't have to borrow a house or an aircraft from the rich person even when they are friends.

I don not agree with the professor who suggested the royalties do not have power of influence (he said it is a grey area). The power of the royal family stems from being popular. Their power is soft power, nevertheless, power that corporations will not hesitate to cultivate.
06:31 August 12, 2010 by jackx123
this is total BS. if they want to do this just give one car to each elected party to use as a pool car for the party members. that way i cannot see how this can be used as a bribe let alone being taxable if it's for work purpose only.

there ya go - you petty swedish tax authorities and law enforcement agencies.
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