Ex-Skandia boss ruling appealed

Prosecutor Christer van der Kwast has asked that the Supreme Court review an appeals court ruling clearing former Skandia CEO Lars-Eric Petersson of charges in a case involving bonuses paid out by the insurance company in 2000.

Van der Kwast has asked Sweden’s Prosecutor General to review his application to have the ruling appealed.

If the Prosecutor General agrees with van der Kwast’s position, the appeal request will be sent to the Supreme Court, which will then ultimately decide whether the acquittal stands.

“I’ve changed my mind and now want the Supreme Court to try the case. There are important legal questions in the judgment to acquit which I think the Supreme Court must review,” said van der Kwast.

Pettersson was originally sentenced by the Stockholm district court to two years in prison for bypassing the Skandia board and authorizing the removal of a ceiling in the company’s Weatherbuilder bonus program. The move cost Skandia 156 million kronor, according to the judgment.

But the court of appeals acquitted Petersson on all charges.

“In my opinion, the different judgments by the district court and the appeals court show that it remains unclear on which premises a decision by the board of a publicly held company should be considered to have been taken, and how the question of intent should be judged when a CEO and the board have different understandings of what the board decided or approved,” writes van der Kwast.

Van der Kwast considers the appeals court judgment to be incomplete and that the court’s opinion gives a misleading picture of the evidence presented.


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."