Systembolaget managers fined

Fifteen former managers of Systembolaget stores in the south and west of Sweden were given fines amounting to between 50 and 110 days' income by Helsingborg district court on Thursday.

Another manager was found not guilty.

The managers were accused of having accepted a total of 132,000 kronor from alcohol supplier AB Vin-Trägårdh. The fifteen were found guilty of corruption and the court emphasised that in accepting gifts – which is against Systembolaget’s policy – it considered them to have committed a serious crime.

Systembolaget should, according to the judgement, have worked harder to ensure that employees were aware of the policy.

In December of last year, Stockholm district court sentenced 18 former managers to fines. In that trial, the vice managing director of Vin-Trägårdh and an employee of the company were also found guilty of bribery.

At the conclusion of the trial in Helsingborg, prosecutor Joakim Zander called for a heavier punishment than was handed down in Stockholm, while the defendants said they were innocent.

They admitted that they bought products from Vin-Trägårdh and were later compensated. Although that broke Systembolaget’s rules, the managers said that it was still allowed according to an “unofficial policy” at the organisation.

The inquiry into bribery at Systembolaget has so far resulted in 92 people being prosecuted. Of them, 77 are former employees and 15 are linked to suppliers Vin-Trägårdh, Philipson & Söderberg and Åkesson Vin AB.

The bribes in the prosecutions total over 1.2 million kronor. But more suppliers, including the state-owned Vin & Sprit, are still under investigation. The next trial is scheduled to take place in Stockholm later in the spring.

TT/The Local