Systembolaget to fire “corrupt” store managers

Systembolaget, the state-owned alcohol retail monopoly, has announced that it will dismiss 50 store managers suspected of receiving bribes from suppliers. 27 other store managers similarly accused have already left the company.

The scandal, which originally came to light two years ago, has thus claimed the manager of a fifth of Systembolaget’s stores as well as a board director and a handful of senior staff.

Lawyers from the company and Almegas, the employers’ organisation, have closely studied the charges and made a judgement on the extent to which the actions of the store managers have broken internal Systembolaget rules.

Jonas Milton, chief executive of Almegas, told DN:

“The prosecutor and police have evidently done an excellent job in logging transactions between companies and the store managers. What’s emerged is systematic and flagrant breaches of regulations.”

Systembolaget’s spokesman, Björn Rydberg, confirmed that all fifty managers would be dismissed. This despite earlier statements that those who came forward voluntarily could expect more lenient treatment.

Three companies are to be prosecuted for bribery: Vin-Trägårdh, Åkessons and Philipson & Söderbergs. Vin-Trägårdh was the most active, paying out over 935,000 crowns in total. Over 21 suppliers were originally investigated.

Vin-Trägårdh had a points system, whereby products were awarded different points and the store manager would be paid accordingly for stocking a particular product. Police found a list of store managers in the company’s possession with ‘bribability’ ratings such as “one of us” and “no problem talking”.

Anders Åkesson, owner of Åkessons and known as ‘Lord of the Manor’, paid out almost 150,000 crowns in holiday gift vouchers.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter