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SKANDIA

Ex-Skandia boss appeals conviction

Former Skandia CEO Lars-Erik Petersson is to appeal against his conviction for breach of trust, for which he was jailed for two years at the end of May.

A split Stockholm district court found that he unlawfully removed the ceiling in insurance company Skandia’s Wealthbuilder bonus programme, costing the company 156 million kronor.

The appeal is grounded on the fact that the court failed to consider around 20 objections and factors that Petersson cited in his defence, according to Petersson’s lawyers.

“This failure is tantamount to a serious failure of justice, and has meant that the district court has not been able to make a correct assessment of Lars-Eric Petersson’s actions,” wrote his lawyers Torgny Wetterberg and Christer Brantheim in their submission.

“In addition, this failure has led to the court not noticing that it has ruled on matters not even covered by the prosecution.”

Petersson’s lawyers also claim that the district court failed to carry out proper analysis of the evidence. The court also failed to examine the credibility of former Skandia chairman Lars Ramqvist and board member Boel Flodgren.

The lawyers also say they do not understand how the court can consider that it has done its job properly when it allegedly failed entirely to take account of important evidence, the sequence of events and the circumstances.

They say that Petersson should therefore be acquitted.

Petersson was found not guilty in the original trial on other charges relating to changes he was alleged to have made to his pension agreement.

TAKEOVER

Scania review board dissects Volkswagen bid

The independent committee looking at Volkswagen's take-over bid of Swedish truck giant Scania began its work on Tuesday, stating promises that headquarters would remain in Sweden were paramount.

Scania review board dissects Volkswagen bid
IF Metall Union representative Johan Järvklo sits on the independent review board. File: TT

Åsa Thunman was appointed chairwoman of the committee, which has invited financial consultants from Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley as well as legal advisors from Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling to assist them in their appraisal.

Thunman said in a statement that the committee would look at whether the $9.2 billion bid was in the best interest of Scania shareholders.

The effect on Swedish industry would also be considered, underlined committee board member Peter Wallenberg Jr.

"It has noted that Volkswagen does not foresee any significant changes with regards to Scania and that Scania’s headquarters and its development centres will remain where they are today," Wallenberg Jr. said. "These matters are of course of importance to the company and for Sweden.”

At the plant in Södertälje, employees have been busy discussing the bid. Assembly line worker Ahmed told The Local that his colleagues did not fear that production would be relocated to Germany.

"They couldn't possibly move all these machines and equipment," Ahmed, which is not his real name, told The Local on Tuesday. "But everyone on the floor has been discussing the offer."

Volkswagen tabled their $9.2 billion bid to swallow up Scania last Friday. It already owns 89 percent of Scania's voting rights and 62.6 percent of the company, with VW eager to secure the nearly 40 percent they do not own. The takeover has encountered resistance from two of Scania's minority owners, however. Both insurance outfit Skandia and pension fund AP4 have expressed reservations about selling up to Volkswagen.

“Scania’s prerequisites to maintain its leading position are better as a listed company than as a subsidiary in a larger group. Skandia doesn't intend to accept the offer," Caroline af Ugglas, head of equities at Skandia, told Bloomberg over the weekend.

Scania, which was founded in 1891 and has operations in more than 100 countries, boasts 38,600 employees. Around 16,000 work with sales and servicescross the company's subsidiaries, and over 12,000 work in production units. The company has headquarters in the Swedish town of Södertälje, where almost 6,000 employees work. The headquarters also hosts the research and development operations, with 3,300 employees.

"Changing owners won't make any difference to us in the near future," assembly line worker Ahmed said. "But we do wonder if the rules will change later on." 

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