Systemet suppliers blame bribes on ex-boss

The former managing director of alcohol wholesaler Vin-Trägårdh could have acted illegally without the knowledge of the rest of the company.

That, at least, was the line of argument presented by the lawyers defending the other two members of staff from Vin-Trägårdh on the last day of the Systembolaget corruption trial.

The former managing director, who made all the payments to the store managers who are also being prosecuted, was also charged but escaped trial due to ill health.

According to the lawyer John Åbom, who is representing the vice managing director, the prosecutor has instead tried to pin the blame for the suspected bribery on his client.

“But did he have any role when it came to transferring money? The prosecutor has not shown this,” he said in his closing remarks.

He also pointed out that in most cases the Systembolaget store managers did not even know the vice MD or mention his name in interviews.

Åbom said that the prosecutor’s argument was built on the notion that the vice MD should have known what was going on within Vin-Trägårdh. But that could also be said for other family members who worked at the company.

“I don’t understand why the vice MD was brought in,” said Åbom, and demanded that his client be found not guilty.

The lawyer representing the former secretary at the company also used the absence of the man at the top to point out that his client had an entirely subordinate role and just printed out the letters.

“What the former MD or the vice MD did was beyond her power to judge. The former MD could very well have done this without anyone’s knowledge, that must be remembered,” he said, emphasising that his client had done nothing inappropriate.

In the morning’s summing up for the store managers’ cases, the defence lawyers stuck to their earlier line.

Their clients had certainly received money but in certain cases were not conscious of it and had no intent to commit a crime, and in every case had not favoured Vin-Trägårdh products in any way.

TT/The Local