Malmö politician’s bribe trial starts

The Social Democratic chief executive of Malmö municipality faced a criminal court on Monday charged with accepting bribes. Ilmar Reepalu and two other men accepted a free trip to a safari park in South Africa, something prosecutors claim was corruption.

Reepalu’s co-defendants include former county governor Bengt Holgersson and the businessman who paid for the trip, who is not being named in line with the Swedish press code.

All three defendants arrived at Malmö district court a short while before proceedings began at 10am on Monday.

Reepalu’s free trip has been valued at 34,000 kronor. He himself denies any crime, arguing that the trip was a 60th birthday present and was the result of a personal friendship between him and the businessman.

None of the defendants deny that the trip took place, but they say that no crime was committed. Malmö municipality has made purchases worth millions of kronor from the businessman’s company since the turn of the century.

The county administrative board, formerly headed by Bengt Holgersson, had also made purchases from the businessman. The alleged bribes in Holgersson’s case have been valued at 63,000 kronor as he took his wife with him.