Swedish tax probe into foreign-owned firms

The Swedish Tax Board is to investigate Swedish companies which are owned by companies abroad in an attempt - usually successful - to reduce tax they pay in Sweden.

Sweden loses billions of kronor of tax revenue annually because of this kind of ownership structure.

While the objective of the project is to prevent foreign ownership for tax technicalities, the Board says it will focus on companies owned in, or via, the Benelux countries.

“We have noticed an increase in Swedish ownership via these countries,” said project leader Göran Haglund at the Swedish Tax Board, to Swedish Radio.

The number of Swedish companies which are owned from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg doubled between 2000 and 2004. In total, around 1,800 companies in Sweden are owned from these countries.

The increase has been most significant in Luxembourg. A preliminary investigation by the tax board indicates that in two thirds of these cases, the foreign ownership is purely a cover. In other words, the same person is behind both the firm in Sweden and the parent company in Luxembourg.

With this set-up, a business owner can effectively halve the tax payable in Sweden.

TT/The Local


Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority

Two Swedish citizens are suspected in connection with last week’s explosion at the Danish Tax Agency. One of the two is in police custody.

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority
Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov addresses the press. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov confirmed the arrests to press on Wednesday morning.

“Both individuals are suspected of carrying out the detonation at the Tax Agency,” Skov said.

One man, aged 22, was arrested in Swedish city Malmö on Tuesday and will be extradited to Denmark. Once he reaches Copenhagen he will appear for preliminary court proceedings, which the prosecution will request take place behind closed doors.

Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten reports the 22-year-old has no previous criminal convictions in the country.

The second man, a 23-year-old, is yet to be detained but an international arrest warrant for him has been issued, Skov said.

“During the night, we also searched several addresses in Sweden. We hereby confiscated what we believe to be a car used by the suspects,” he said.

“We have one suspect on the loose, which means we must be careful about what we say, out of consideration for the investigation,” he added.

The superintendent did not add any detail about how police were able to connect the two individuals to the August 6th explosion.

Skov also stressed that police do not believe the tax authority blast to be connected to a similar incident at a police station in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday.

“There is nothing to suggest (a connection),” he said.