Skandia prosecutor demands long jail sentence

During his concluding pleadings in the trial of former Skandia chief Lars-Eric Petersson, prosecutor Christer van der Kwast demanded a prison sentence "at the high end of the punishment scale" for the crime of "breach of trust against a principal".

Under Swedish law a guilty verdict could result in up to six years’ imprisonment.

The prosecutor also called for Lars-Eric Petersson to be banned from involvement in business.

Around 30 people have appeared as witnesses in Stockholm district court in the trial, among them several of the country’s most well-known business people.

The trial, which began in the middle of February, has so far run smoothly. Enormous sums of money have been discussed and there are still many question marks concerning who did what during Skandia’s period of massive bonuses from 1997 to the early years of this decade.

Many witnesses, and primarily former board members, professed to having gaps in their memory, or a blurry understanding, regarding the extension of the Wealthbuilder bonus programme in January 2000.

Prosecutor Christer van der Kwast has tried to convince the court’s judges that Lars-Eric Petersson circumvented the board in raising the ceiling on the Wealthbuilder programme.

That ended up costing Skandia at least 185 million kronor more than it should have done, he said.

Additionally, the prosecutor will try to convince the court that Petersson changed his own pension deal, meaning that Skandia risked paying out 37 million kronor more than agreed.

Lars-Eric Petersson’s lawyers, led by Torgny Wetterberg, have throughout the trial claimed that the prosecution – based on a report by lawyer Otto Rydbeck – is unfounded and poorly supported by the evidence.

TT/The Local