Saab targeted in South Korea bribery probe

Swedish aerospace giant Saab AB is under investigation by South Korean security authorities looking into allegations the company paid off a local research institute in exchange for classified information.

The defence ministry said on Tuesday that last month security officials raided the Seoul branch of the Swedish firm as well as the Security Management Institute, a private organization with access to key defence information.

“The raid, which was to secure evidence, followed allegations of bribery,” a ministry spokesman told AFP, without disclosing details.

The Swedish defence contractor is suspected of bribing the institute to obtain information regarding a military project to develop new fighter jets, Yonhap news agency said.

Saab has been interested in the project, Yonhap said, adding its potential competitors include US firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

A representative from Saab said the company was unaware of having been targeted in the probe.

“We haven’t received any indication that there is any connection at all indicating we might have paid for some sort of information,” Saab spokesperson Cecilia Schön Jansson told Sweden’s TT news agency.

According to her, none of the three employee’s in Saab’s Seoul office, one of whom is a Swede, are suspected of any crime.

Yonhap quoted Kim Jong-Tae, commander of the Defence Security Command, as saying security authorities were questioning six people.

“The investigation should end at the end of October,” Kim was quoted as saying.

Investigators suspect the institute has presented reports on the fighter project to parliament in favour of Saab, Yonhap said.

South Korea hopes to secure more than 100 new fighters by 2020 to better counter threats from its neighbours. It has purchased 40 F-15Ks from Boeing and plans to buy 21 more by 2012.

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New Telia CEO ‘excited’ about the job

TeliaSonera's new head Johan Dennelind believes he is the right man to restore the Swedish telecom giant's reputation after the company's Uzbek bribery scandal.

New Telia CEO 'excited' about the job

In an interview with news agency TT, Dennelind said he felt “excited” about the appointment, but he did not want to reveal his plans for TeliaSonera’s future.

Asked in what ways he can help improve the company’s reputation, Dennelind replied:

“I have worked in the industry for 20 years, in mature markets and in some developing countries. I have worked in tough conditions. I believe I recognize some of the problems Telia seems to be facing so I hope to contribute with some experience.”

Dennelind sees the company’s presence in growth economies as well as mature markets as a good combination, he said, adding that the telecoms industry is crucial in developing countries as it helps economies grow and allows people to communicate within and across borders.

“Our industry is really in a sweet spot,” he said.

As for the Uzbek scandal, Dennelind did not want say whether he plans to take any particular measures or whether the managers suspected of bribery will keep their jobs.

“I haven’t had time to familiarize myself with this. I got the job yesterday,” he said.

He promised he himself has no “skeletons in the closet” and said that he has no trouble drawing the line between his work and private life. He is also good at delegating work among colleagues, he said.

Telia chairwoman Marie Ehrling told TT that Dennelind will help clean up the company’s reputation, praising his leadership skills and his experiences of working in tough environments such as Africa, where he was based for three years.

“There are similar issues there as in Eurasia when it comes to human rights, for instance,” said Ehrling.

Dennelind will officially take up the post as TeliaSonera CEO in September.

TT/The Local/nr

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