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FRAUD

Ericsson bosses not guilty in tax case

The former finance director of Ericsson, Carl Wilhelm Roos, and the former strategy director, Torbjörn Nilsson, were freed of all charges of financial irregularity on Friday at Stockholm District Court.

All of those involved in the Ericsson tax case, a total of six people, were found not guilty by the court.

“This is extremely pleasing. The court has completely understood the explanations that this was about entirely normal business transactions,” said Hans Strandberg, lawyer for one of the directors.

The case went back to the end of the 1990s, when, according to chief prosecutor Lage Carlström, seven directors and another employee were engaged in “the serious obstruction of tax checks”.

The directors were accused of siphoning off cash to foreign bank accounts with the help of false invoices. The prosecutor also claimed that they had manipulated accounts with the intention of misleading the tax authorities.

Between 1998 and 1999, said the prosecutor, Ericsson paid 3.4 billion kronor to 33 different service companies or intermediaries. In total, the case focused on around 400 invoices for a range of services, including sponorship and marketing activities.

SWEDEN AND UKRAINE

Ericsson suspends all Russia operations indefinitely

Swedish network equipment maker Ericsson said Monday that it was suspending all of its Russian operations over the war in Ukraine for the foreseeable future.

Ericsson suspends all Russia operations indefinitely

The telecom giant already announced in late February that it would stop all deliveries to Russia following Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“In the light of recent events and of European Union sanctions, the company will now suspend its affected business with customers in Russia indefinitely,” Ericsson said in a statement.

The company added that it was “engaging with customers and partners regarding the indefinite suspension of the affected business.”

“The priority is to focus on the safety and well-being of Ericsson employees in Russia and they will be placed on paid leave,” it said.

READ ALSO: How has Sweden responded to Putin’s war in Ukraine so far?

Hundreds of Western firms ranging from Ikea to Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s have stopped operations in the country since the invasion, with French banking group Societe Generale announcing Monday it was selling its stake in Russia’s Rosbank.

Ericsson has around 600 employees in Russia, and is a “major supplier to the largest operator MTS and the fourth largest operator Tele2,” a company spokeswoman told AFP, adding that together with Ukraine, Russia accounts for less than two percent of revenue.

As a result, the equipment maker said it would record a provision for 900 million Swedish kronor ($95 million, 87 million euros) for the first quarter of 2022 for “impairment of assets and other exceptional costs,” though no staff redundancy costs were included.
Ericsson is due to publish its first quarter earnings on April 14.

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