Former Skandia personnel boss jailed

The former personnel director at Skandia, Ola Ramstedt, has been sentenced to two years in prison for breach of trust and bribery.

The ex-head of Skanida subsidiary Diligentia, Håkan Lennersand, and a former project leader at Skandia were jailed for one and a half years and one year respectively for colluding with Ramstedt.

“I am satisfied with the verdict,” said prosecutor Peter Nilsson to TT, despite the fact that the court chose to clear Ramstedt and Lennersand of other corruption charges.

“The breach of trust was the main point in the prosecution,” he addede.

In December 2001 Ramstedt signed an invoice for 17.6 million kronor. The charge was listed as rebuilding of part of Skandia’s head office on Stockholm’s Sveavägen.

But in fact the bill was for the renovation of nine luxury apartments which were rented by Skandia’s top executives and their relatives.

Ramstedt was assisted in the matter by by Håkan Lennersand, who headed up Skandia’s property company, Diligentia. In August 2002 Lennersand was given two million kronor, which was followed in January 2003 by improved pension terms worth six million kronor.

“The guilty verdict comes as no surprise to us, given the prosecution and the trial itself,” said Skandia’s current vice chairman, Björn Björnsson.

Björnsson said that Skandia’s insurance customers did not suffer financially from the crimes committed by Ramstedt. He added that Skandia did not intend to sue Ramstedt personally.

“We have already decided to direct all our damages claims at the person with the highest responsibility in the former management, Lars-Eric Petersson,” said Björn Björnsson.

In its verdict, the court wrote that it was beyond any reasonable doubt that the men had been aware that the invoice had been falsified.

However, Ramstedt’s lawyer, Hans Strandberg, said he had spoken to his client and that they intend to appeal against the verdict.

“Ola Ramstedt is both devastated and surprised by this guilty verdict,” said Strandberg.

“Neither I nor Ola Ramstedt think that the court has considered our evidence and the material we presented during the trial.”


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."