Court clears Skandia bosses

The Stockholm District Court has cleared former Skandia directors Lars-Eric Petersson and Ulf Spång from charges of tax evasion.

Court clears Skandia bosses

The pair risked prison sentences of several years if convicted as they had avoided paying taxes on a total 72 million kronor ($11.8 million) earned around the year 2000, according to the prosecutor.

The money came from the Sharetracker bonus program created by Petersson and Spång.

According to prosecutor Christer van der Kwast, the crime was committed when the pair ordered that the money be transfered from two money management firms with ties to Skandia, Global Umbrella Trust and Skandia Leben.

The money was transfered from Global Umbrella Trust to the Pepsi foundation in Liechtenstein toward the end of the 1990s.

Pepsi is owned by Petersson, Sång, and their former Skandia colleague Bo Ingemarsson.

The motivation behind the creation of Pepsi was to be able to place their millions in bonuses more freely.

But the District Court has found that the prosectuor couldn’t prove that Pepsi was created withouth Skandia’s approval, and that the funds placed in Pepsi by the accused had not been subject to the rules associated with the Sharetracker programme.

“The indictment against Petersson and Spång is hereby dismissed,” said the District Court in a statement.

Earlier, a County Administrative Court judgment raised Spång’s taxable liability by 20 million kronor. The judgment was appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeals.

Sweden’s National Tax Agency’s (Skatteverket) case against Petersson has yet to be tried in the County Administrative Court.


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."