Governor cleared of bribery charges

Jämtland's County Governor Maggi Mikaelsson has had her previous conviction for bribery overturned by the Court of Appeal. Kenneth Eriksson, president of forestry company SCA, has also been cleared.

Mats Odell, Sweden’s minister for local government and financial markets, has indicated that Mikaelsson will return to her post immediately.

In September 2005 Maggi Mikaelsson, who in 2002 became the Left Party’s first ever county governor, was invited to take part in an elk hunt arranged by SCA. According to senior public prosecutor Christer van der Kvast, the hunt may have cleared the way for a decision to add five adult elks to SCA’s seasonal quota.

But the Court of Appeal has argued that the hunt’s recreational aspect was of secondary importance when compared to the occupational information and knowledge that the hunt provided. The county governor had been given an ideal opportunity to meet with various trade and industry representatives.

The court did not consider the food and board supplied in connection with the hunt to be excessive.

“Today’s verdict means that public representatives can meet informally with trade and industry figures to discuss business matters,” SCA’s CEO Jan Åstrom told news agency TT.

Mikaelsson has consistently proclaimed her innocence. She has been on a leave of absence from her position as county governor since being convicted of bribery in November last year.