Storm in a wine glass

If the top brass at Systembolaget thought their openness would draw to a close the daily reports of bribery and corruption in the ranks, they were very much mistaken.

With Friday’s front page picture revealing the pressures on the company’s chairman, Olof Johansson, and chief executive, Anitra Steen, Svenska Dagbladet takes the view that these two at least have the confidence of their board.

According to the paper, an internal investigation found that although “many employees at Systembolaget’s head office have had contact with suppliers which contravenes company policy” there is not “a culture of impropriety” in the organisation.

Nevertheless, Svenska Dagbladet gently reminded its readers that throughout the 90s Systembolaget staff were given holidays, concert tickets and (shock!) free booze by suppliers.

There was no such restraint in Expressen’s Friday leader. The finding that Systembolaget’s elite are innocent of any wrongdoing is, it said, “self-deception of enormous proportions”. If there is corruption then it is because “the management has created a framework that leads to corruption…and it’s going to happen again”. Just as inevitable is the leader’s conclusion. “A monopoly of one in an otherwise free market always leads to shady business in one form or another. The surest way to prevent such a mess is to abolish both the company and the monopoly on sales.”