• Sweden edition
 

Hefty PR advice bill after Saudi arms scandal

Published: 17 Jun 2012 12:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Jun 2012 12:20 GMT+02:00

Tax money well spent, according to the Defence Research Agency’s (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut, FOI) head of communications, Ann-Sofi Pejler Carlsson.

“It wouldn’t be cost effective to have a larger communications department. It’s actually fairly standard to bring in external expertise. In IT, for instance, all expertise is not internal,” she said to news agency TT.

The deal behind the controversial arms factory was revealed by Swedish national radio station SR on 6 March, showing that FOI had formed the decoy company SSTI to arrange the building of an arms factory.

As the scandal unfolded, defence minister Sten Tolgfors was forced to resign and the founder of SSTI, formerly employed by FOI, said that the money used to start the company consisted of public funds from FOI, and is currently being investigated for breach of trust.

When the news broke, FOI hired PR firm Gullers Grupp, and ran a bill of 316,250 kronor there for “media analyses” and “communication advice”, according to TT.

The agency’s communications head Pejler Carlsson is unwilling to discuss what exact advice they were given, but said it concerned both internal and external communication, when and how to present information.

News agency TT asked whether she’s concerned that the agency’s actions could be conceived as using tax money in an attempt to hide something from tax payers.

“I don’t know if there is such a risk, but I think it’s important for us to be able to get external help when extra need arises, as in this case.”

FOI’s lack of communication during the scandal came in for heavy criticism. Several media sources wanted to interview the agency’s head Jan-Olof Lind, but were met by constant refusals.

“We tried to work with our communication as best we could. The difficulty is that so much was confidential,” said Pejler Carlsson.

Several MPs are critical of FOI’s decision to pay for external crisis management.

“I think it’s completely horrible,” said Green Party MP Peter Rådberg to TT. Rådberg has previously criticised the way FOI has handled the Saudi arms deal.

“The former FOI boss, Lind, came to see us at the Riksdag’s defence committee, and he didn’t answer a single question. He just accounted for general matters. It was impossible to get anything out of the man,” Rådberg said.

Left Party MP Torbjörn Björlund was also critical of FOI’s actions, and was unimpressed by the argument that the confidential information involved bound FOI’s hands.

“That’s just an excuse. I think it’s cowardly to hide behind confidentiality. They can always find reasons to make something confidential; it’s built on their own values. To me it feels like a way to escape responsibility,” Björlund said, and continued:

“If you tell the truth and take care to stick to the rules, you shouldn’t need any external communications expertise.”

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:50 June 17, 2012 by byke
Democracy, the voice of the people ......

Shame it seems to have been lost in translation.
14:10 June 17, 2012 by jack sprat
Shades of the attempted cover up of Swedens wartime loan to the Nazis.

Some things never change.
14:54 June 17, 2012 by Abe L
The taxpayer should have simply been happy with the additional income for the Swedish state. This did not need to get blown up like it did and there really shouldn't have been a PR campaign. This is a good thing, both for the revenue and political relations.
15:42 June 17, 2012 by Gardian
Those who think that you are protecting Swedish public money or so call taxpayers money , This is the time you need to change your mind , Saudi Arabia is very rich country they produce 30% of global Oil , each day have billion dollar cash account , So what is wrong if Sweden government exchange their experience with Saudis and get some oil in return or cash maybe. What Swedish taxpayers will lose in that, the Government will get more money from the Saudis and the question for the government has to be like this , WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO SPENT THIS MONEY? AND HOW MUCH ITS? AND HOW THE PUBLIC CAN BENEFIT THE MONEY COMING FROM SAUDIS?. The American and Uk did that? the Norwegian also ? So what?. In fact the government will hide all the information related to this project because of this stupid people who is just talking about 300,000 kroner spent by public fund , and not about the billion dollars coming from the Saudis ! I was in Dubai last summer and its amazing how the Norwegian and british are getting big projects from UAE government and most of big bosses for these companies are british American , Norwegian. no single Swedish you know why ? because we are idiot and our parties are one century behind. and the society itself are very passive. Its time for us to change our minds and get involved where is an interesting regardless of human rights and democracy , this principles and values is here in Sweden. IF say no , they will contract with other developed countries in Europe.
16:55 June 17, 2012 by skogsbo
300,000 sek for a months PR work, sound seriously cheap to me. That's what 1 PR consultant would probably charge for 30 days work at that level, sounds like they got a discount, or did actually use them very much. I echo the above, if you want to get some serious revenue from abroad, then spending a little is not a probably. Most governments probably spend more than this per year on flowers for their offices and entrance foyers!
17:18 June 17, 2012 by glamelixir
I am a PR, tell me were shall I apply for that monthly salary!
09:27 June 18, 2012 by Borilla
Create a deal to make money for the Swedish government? A bizarre action for any government to actually try to earn income. Instead of conducting a PR campaign to support the project, try to hide it and when the project is discovered hire a high priced politically connected PR firm to try and cover your tracks. Great work Moderates. Capitalism at its best. Waste taxpayers' money on a failed project and then throw more taxpayer money on the fire to hide it. If it was not a good deal, if it was against public policy or if it was not supported by public opinion, you should never have done it. Hiring PR flacks to try to shift the ultimate blame to the public is shameful. Now you say that hiring someone to cover your tracks is cost efficient. Great planning.
Today's headlines
Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange court ruling expected on Monday
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange court ruling expected on Monday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can expect the next court ruling on his case to take place on Monday October 27th in Stockholm. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
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
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
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
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
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

979
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