Systemet bribery lawyer charged with corruption

The lawyer who is representing the managing director of Vin-Trägårdh, the wine supplier which has been accused of bribing managers of Systembolaget stores, has himself been charged with serious corruption.

Per Liljekvist denies the charges but is to leave his post as a court-appointed defence counsel.

“I can’t sit in a trial for eighteen days and defend a client and then on the nineteenth day go in as a suspect,” said Liljekvist to Swedish Radio’s Ekot programme.

He is accused of having accepted a wine chiller worth almost 24,000 kronor from Vin-Trägårdh’s vice managing director, Niklas Davidsson.

While Liljekvist admits having taken the wine chiller, he says that it does not mean that he has committed a crime. He says he accepted it as a private person, not as a lawyer and that his understanding was that it was used and therefore of no value.

“I’m furious, the charge is completely unfounded,” Liljekvist told Dagens Nyheter.

“I will clear myself and I will fight back with all my power,” he said.

But vice chief prosecutor Björn Blomqvist indicated to DN that he believes the case is clear-cut.

“If you have the role of a court-appointed defence counsel and then in the course of your duties you accept a gift which can be linked to an assignment, then that is considered to be corruption,” he said.

The charges could have been worse, though:

“I can’t prove there were bottles in it,” said Blomqvist.

Is a gift from a client corruption? Discuss!