Ericsson executives charged with tax evasion

Four current and former executives at Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson were charged on Tuesday with tax evasion, the Swedish National Economic Crimes Bureau said.

The case dates back to 1998 and concerns a system of payment to marketing consultancy services that has since been abandoned.

Three of those who were charged at the Stockholm court are still employed at Ericsson while one has since left the company. Their names have not been disclosed.

The case follows the related indictment of three of the suspects in April 2005 for tax evasion that involved roughly 3.3 billion kronor (416 million dollars).

The three have now been charged with the fourth person of additional tax evasion totalling 388 million kronor (49 million dollars).

Two other Ericsson executives initially indicted in April have had their cases closed due to lack of evidence, police said.

According to the Economic Crimes Bureau, the payment system was designed to evade tax controls and the company issued fake invoices to hide other payments.

Ericsson spokesman Henry Stenson said that the company rejected the charges, insisting that there was never any intent to evade tax control or taxes.

“We believe that (prosecutor) Lage Carlström is wrong on the question of intent,” Stenson told AFP.