• Sweden edition
 
Swedish corruption rise 'a myth': expert

Swedish corruption rise 'a myth': expert

Published: 10 Oct 2011 10:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Oct 2011 10:27 GMT+02:00

“More and more people allege that Sweden has become more corrupt in the wake of the 'corruption scandals' which have broken in recent years,” Claes Sandgren, a professor in civil law at Stockholm University and chair of the Anti-corruption Institute, wrote in an opinion article published on Monday in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“But there's a catch; neither recent studies nor crime statistics show that this is true.”

Sandgren cites a number of Swedish and international reports all of which, he argues, point to Sweden's reputation for low-levels of corruption being well-deserved.

Transparency International, for example, has consistently ranked Sweden among the least corrupt countries in its annual listing. In the group's most recent ranking, Sweden placed fourth.

According to the World Bank's “Governance Indicators”, Sweden ranks second among 27 European countries when it comes to regulatory quality and third in terms of control of corruption.

In addition, 93 percent of respondents to a survey of Swedish local politicians and civil servants conducted by Linnaeus University said that abuse of power in their municipality had decreased or remained unchanged.

Official statistics from Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet - Brå) also point to concerns about increasing corruption being a “mirage”, according to Sandgren, as the number of bribery convictions has dropped from 77 in 2006 down to three in 2010.

“The creation of the myth has its roots in a large number of people's own interest in overstating how widespread corruption is,” Sandgren writes, citing the media, researchers, politicians, accountants, and commentators who stand to gain more “attention, resources, and assignments” if corruption is seen to be on the rise.

He points to Sweden's 250-year history of building up institutions designed to minimise corrution in the country.

“A single corruption scandal can leave scratches on this edifice, nothing more,” he writes.

Nevertheless he argues that Swedes should continue to be “on our guard” against corruption.

“Not least the construction sector should clean up its act and there are, among other things, conflicts of interest in municipalities and friendly relationships that aren't necessarily illegal but can certainly damage trust,” writes Sandgren.

He suggests holding companies' top management responsible for bribery crimes in a way similar to how they are held responsible for workplace accidents according to Swedish employment protection laws.

In addition, Swedish municipalities need to do a better job applying rules which prevent them from purchasing goods or services from companies where a representative has been convicted of bribery crimes.

“Considering that public sector assignments are critical for certain companies, frequent use of these rules could have a great effect,” argues Sandgren.

The Anti-corruption Institute was founded in 1923 and falls under the auspices of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) and trade group Svensk Handel.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:32 October 10, 2011 by RobinHood
Was this survey conducted before Juholt got caught with his sticky fingers in the tax payers' cookie jar?
12:35 October 10, 2011 by OUIJA
"The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has once again ranked Sweden as one of the cleanest places in the world to do business. While Swedes are proud of this reputation, three national icons--Ikea, Saab and the royal family--have all faced allegations of corruption this year. Recent headlines have provoked a national debate about whether the Scandinavian nation's reputation is really deserved."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11949956

"Sweden is a country which is ranked tops in governance and corruption rankings, meaning relatively a clean country. Infact by some measures the cleanest country by some measures.

"This paper says reality is different. There have been some recent cases of corruption in Sweden. THis has led to a larger % of people believing that Sweden is corrupt and public officials work for their own gains. Moreover, you need to know them to get your work done…."

http://mostlyeconomics.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/how-public-perceives-corruption-case-of-sweden/
12:52 October 10, 2011 by Not Dumb
'Not least the construction sector should clean up its act and there are, among other things, conflicts of interest in municipalities and friendly relationships that aren't necessarily illegal but can certainly damage trust,' writes Sandgren.

The problem is HOW ONE DEFINES CORRUPTION!!!! In Sweden, the standard UN or US definitions of corruption ARE NOT USED -- CORRUPTION IN SWEDEN IS DEFINED AS BRIBERY!!!!

When one has 'money under the table' that is taken by politicians from within their own Kommun's budgets and used for self-serving reasons, THIS VERY OFTEN ISN'T BRIBERY under Swedish law, MEANING IT ISN'T LEGALLY CORRUPTION!!! AND, IN ORDER TO PROVE CORRUPTION, ONE MUST ALSO PROVE 'INTENT' TO COMMIT THE CRIME HERE!!!

The 'facts and statements' surrounding this article are, in my opinion, an exercise in semantics, one which avoids the reality of a corrosive, deep, and disturbing problem! IMHO, if one were to use a US definition of corruption, the reality here would be infinitely more apparent!

IE, the so-called "Anti-corruption Institute" referred to in the article is named in Swedish the IMM, the Institutet Mot Mutor (Institute Against Bribery)! Here is a link to their website http://www.institutetmotmutor.se/

In the US we have the crime of 'bribery' and another crime called 'corruption'; but, in Sweden, the definition of Corruption is Bribery, 'MUTOR'!!!!

Sandgren is a good man, but the facts are the facts, and what he alludes to in the building sector in relation to the Kommuns (municipalities) is, IMHO, indeed a 'CORRUPTION' problem if one uses a US or UN definition of the term!!!!

End of conversation -- punkt slut!
14:18 October 10, 2011 by nlidukdese
Every Swede seems to know that Sweden scores well on the Transparency International index. But none of them seem to know that what this index measures is not the occurrence of corruption, but the perceived occurrence of corruption.

With Swedes collectively burying their heads in the sand, it's hard to perceive anything.
14:57 October 10, 2011 by Tysknaden
Maybe... this "expert" ist corrupted?
15:02 October 10, 2011 by jacquelinee
hahahahahahahahahahhahahahhahahhahahhah Best joke I have heard all year.

I guess it is because no one records negativity (i.e. medical malpractice claims) let alone prosecutes them. If it aint on paper, it doesn't exist.
18:18 October 10, 2011 by Not Dumb
I had to return to this story as the article ITSELF is misleading, Sandgren acknowledges that if one includes the kind of crime that we english speakers term corruption, then SWEDEN'S CORRUPTION IS IMMENSE! The following excerpt from the DN piece Sandgren wrote ( http://www.dn.se/debatt/inget-tyder-pa-att-sverige-blivit-ett-mer-korrupt-land )highlights his own words on this...

Here's the original Swedish, followed by Google translate's version --

"En vilseledande faktor är vidare att begreppet "korruption" har kommit att korrumperas på så vis att snart sagt allt mygel av tjänstemän betecknas som korruption. Ett färskt exempel är den tjänsteman vid Göteborgs spårvägar som hade låtit företaget betala hennes villabygge. Är det rimligt att ett sådant bedrägeri slås upp i medierna som "ännu en korruptionsskandal"? Knappast. Begreppet korruption får mening bara om det förbehålls oegentligheter som kan påverka beslutsfattande, såsom vid en upphandling, ett bygglov, ett bidrag, en inspektion, ett läkarbesök och så vidare. Sträcks det ut till att omfatta bedrägerier, stölder, förskingringar och andra tillgreppsbrott är korruptionen i Sverige ofantlig."

Google Translate -- "A misleading factor is that the term 'corruption' has become corrupted in the sense that almost all graft by officials described as corruption. A recent example is the officer at Göteborg trams which had allowed the company to pay her apartment building. Is it reasonable that such fraud is looked up in the media as "yet another corruption scandal"? Hardly. The term corruption has meaning only if it is reserved irregularities that may affect decision-making, such as when a contract, a building permit, a grant, an inspection, a doctor and so on. Stretched it out to include fraud, theft, embezzlement and other acquisitive crime is corruption in Sweden immense."

AGAIN, the reason Sandgren can say corruption is so low is that Swedish Law has a very narrow definition of 'corruption' -- 'bribery'! But, if one includes what we commonly call corruption in the US, UK, and Canada, then he admits the problem is "IMMENSE"! As I said in my earlier quote, #3, IMHO this isn't a corruption question but one of semantics!

Sweden does indeed seem to have an 'immense' corruption problem!

Now, truly the end of conversation -- punkt slut.
20:58 October 10, 2011 by OUIJA
"More and more people allege that Sweden has become more corrupt in the wake of the 'corruption scandals' which have broken in recent years.

"But there's a catch; neither recent studies nor crime statistics show that this is true," says Claes Sandgren.

Well, well. I do believe that the "expertise" of Mr. Sandgren has to be investigated, because obviously he is talking more about bribery and not about the whole concept of corruption, which, by definition is dishonesty: breach of trust, bribery, bribing, crime, crookedness, demoralization, exploitation, extortion, fiddling, fraud, fraudulency, graft, jobbery, malfeasance, misrepresentation, nepotism, on the take, payoff, payola, profiteering, racket, shadiness, shady deal, shuffle, skimming, squeeze*, unscrupulousness, venality.

So there is no corruption growing in Sweden, right? That takes me way back when Leif Pagrotsky was the Minister of Trade around 1998. During a conference about trade, Pagrotsky attacked ferociously the corruption of many countries in the world, including Spain, Italy, Turkey and others. One Spaniard got fed up with his rantings and without hesitating asked him: "Excuse me Pagrotsky. Is there corruption in Sweden? Pagrotzky turned red, yellow and green. "Well…Hmm…well. I have to recognize that we do have corruption in Sweden", said a minister of the government of Göran Persson. After that, he dedicated more than five minutes while looking for excuses to give so he could exonerate Sweden from the corruption stigma. That was 1998.

The apartment buildings that collapse in Turkey during earthquakes are widely known as "bribe buildings". In Africa, there are bridges with no roads to connect them. Bofors has a nice record on the subject. IKEA and the Royal family have been targeted and just recently the leader of the Social Democrats, Juholt, is being investigated because he committed serious crimes related to corruption.

Acts of dishonesty committed by the Swedish municipalities, politicians, private companies, government departments, etc, etc. The list is extensive and juicy.

Bribery, of course, is the most widespread form of corruption, and corporate strategies for dealing with bribe requests vary.

"The list of countries that have been politically or economically crippled by corruption continues to grow, and businesses with long-term interests abroad will ultimately be harmed by any plans that include bribery", says professor F. Nichols, a true expert about this theme.

It does not matter that Sweden enjoys a 9.2% in the index of less corrupted countries in the world, sharing the fourth place with Finland. Denmark holding number one position.

The index surely will change by next year and I would not be surprised how many places Sweden will fall.

Poor Sweden. Almost always in the hands of blind people.
15:36 October 14, 2011 by tadchem
There is a difference between becoming more prevalent and becoming more visible. Corruption is old and common. What is new is the harsh light of Information Age technology that purges the shadows in which corruption likes to hide.
06:22 October 16, 2011 by Imperor
Systembolaget is certainly one of the most corrupt instances we have in Sweden.

Some friends started a wine-firm about ten years ago and could not get a single product in until they sent a sommelier to Italy... The other stuff that was revealed were just the tip of the iceberg and part of a all-encompassing scheme. As usual the real crooks took the opportunity to get rid of some less agreeable associates and are now making more money "under the table" than ever.
00:01 March 18, 2013 by LookerOn
I found this article by searching for 'widespread corruption in Sweden' and am surprised to see that this is from over one year ago. I lived in Sweden for 14 years until 2006 when I moved back to my home country Ireland, but have continued to follow current affairs in Sweden. I have been surprised by the amount of corruption in the years I have been gone and have been informed by watching programs such as Uppdraggranskning on SVT. There are so many cases presented on that program that I find it unbelievable that this 'expert' can find no grounds what so ever for his denial of a perceived rise in corruption in recent times. One big aspect in Uppdraggranskning has been the kommungranskarna and from the scandals in Gothenburg to Kristinehamn and to a very recent case of Leksands kommun - these are so big that they can't be ignored. In Leksand for example the local kommun has basically given away kommunal property (two ice halls) to a private company - Leksands ice hockey association, LIF. The same ice halls are now 'rented' back by the kommun for large sums of tax papers money. The kommun have been trying to support LIF and maybe see that it is morally defensible to do this since large numbers of Leksand people would support the Leksand ice hockey team. However it is reprehensible and morally indefensible to be giving away large sums of tax papers money to private interests. LIF also received the gift of a kommunally owned 'fritids' holiday centre that was in fact making money for taxpayers. This was done in an attempt to provide a source of income for the cash strapped LIF - it wasn't enough, a few years after this 'donation' from the kommun the holiday centre was sold to private individuals, some of which are apparently high members of the LIF associations board!! You couldn't make it up, it is simply good old fashioned abuses of power and a case of dirty and illegal activity taking place between corrupt officials and private interests. This hoiliday centre is now making money for its new private owners who 'stole' it by abuses of power! The latest from Leksand is that the kommun is now closing schools and kintergartens and donating the savings once again to LIF.. I really can't understand how Swedes allow this to happen without some form of protest or demonstration - but what will be the cost to Swedish society if these corrupt individuals aren't stopped.. and soon! That Sweden and Scandinavia are not seen as corrupt is largely down to the lanuage barrier when very little of this would be put down in English. Therefore it is incumbent on 'patriotic' Swedes to try and get the word out about how beautiful Sweden with its fair and equal society is bit by bit getting destroyed by a small percentage of greedy and immoral individuals.
Today's headlines
Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

970
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN