Senior Skandia man faces bribe charges

The former head of personnel at Swedish insurer Skandia, Ola Ramstedt, has been charged with serious breach of trust for allegedly allowing more than 17 million kronor of company funds to be used for renovating directors' apartments.

“He is suspected of allowing Skandia to pay 17, 592,000 kronor as ‘extra costs’ in connection with the renovation of apartments reserved for leading decision makers in Skandia and their families. A further two Skandia employees are being charged as accessories to the crime,” wrote chief prosecutor Christer van der Kwast, announcing the prosecution.

Ramstedt is also being charged for bribing a Skandia employee. The employee in question is also being prosecuted.

Van der Kwast says that Ramstedt wrote a false invoice dated 18th December 2001.

“The invoice was approved by Ramstedt. In the invoice that was filed in Skandia’s accounts as evidence of the payment, the amount on the invoice was given as 17,952,000 which purported to be payment for rebuilding Skandia’s head office on Sveavägen,” wrote van der Kwast.

The other two Skandia employees who have also been charged were responsible for property matters within the Skandia group.

“They have aided and abetted the crime through gathering the information for the invoice and cooperating in seeing to it that the false invoice was drawn up and authorized by Skandia.”

One of them, Håkan Lennersand, received six million kronor and has therefore been charged with bribery. When the crime was committed he was head of Diligentia, Skandia’s property company.

Suspicions that former finance director Ulf Spång had broken laws forbidding companies from lending money to employees or shareholders have now been dropped. Prosecutors will report back later on suspicions of serious tax crimes.

The news that the company had awarded large bonuses to executives and funded the renovation of their luxury apartments caused a small scandal in Sweden when it became known in 2003.

The Skandia group has recently been the subject of takeover moves from British-South African insurer Old Mutual, although the Skandia board has rejected the approaches.

TT/The Local