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Ericsson execs acquitted in tax case

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18:56 CEST+02:00
Five Ericsson executives accused of faking invoices in an attempt to slash the company's tax bill have been found not guilty by an appeal court in Stockholm.

The five senior managers at the Swedish telecommunications giant were accused of fabricating the invoices, worth 3.3 billion kronor, which were sent out to 33 companies.

The five executives charged over the alleged fake invoices were previously acquitted by Stockholm District Court. This ruling was confirmed by Thursday's judgment from the Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm. If convicted, they could have faced jail sentences.

The invoices at the heart of the case were used to remunerate commercial agents abroad. Ericsson paid certain local agents through intermediaries to protect their anonymity. The invoices were viewed by the Swedish Economic Crimes Unit as an attempt to evade tax controls.

“We are very happy that all those prosecuted have been acquitted by Svea Court of Appeal and that we can now put this behind us. The investigation that led to these charges started over six years ago,” said Ericsson information director Henry Stenson in a statement.

“We have been confident all along that those charged were innocent of impeding a tax investigation and it has now been shown that we were right.”

The appeal court agreed with the district court that the invoices in question were neither false; nor, it said, were they defective in a way that they amounted to an evasion of Ericsson's accounting obligations. Two of the court's lay judges reserved themselves from part of the judgement.

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