• Sweden's news in English

Bribery scandal rocks Gothenburg

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 30 Apr 2010, 14:38

Published: 30 Apr 2010 11:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Apr 2010 14:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"There is cause to suspect that several people have accepted perks which can be classified as bribes," said Nils-Erik Schultz at the National Anti-Corruption Unit (Riksenheten mot korruption) to news agency TT.

The investigation concerns the Gothenburg municipal housing firm Familjebostäder and the city's sports and clubs division.

Officials from the two organisations had difficulty explaining their relationship with the contractor Stefan Allbäck when approached by Sveriges Television's Uppdrag Granskning programme, which also claimed that several of the invoices submitted for public projects, and approved by the municipal officials concerned, contained gross irregularities.

"There were a number of facts and allegations which permit one to assume and suspect that some people have received benefits that could be classified as bribes. But it is difficult to single out a particular detail in the programme," said Schultz by way of explanation for why he had opened the investigation.

When SVT approached Stefan Allbäck over the allegations against him he initially threatened to sue the programme for defamation, which he claimed has victimized him since 2005. Allbäck explained that a police investigation was ongoing and declined to comment further.

Many of the accusations forwarded to the municipality that Allbäck referred to came from the ex-wife of one of the officials implicated, and whose allegations formed the basis of Uppdrag Granskning's report. Despite having provided a wealth of supporting evidence the municipality had previously declined to open an investigation into her allegations of bribery and corruption involving her ex-husband and Allbäck.

According to SVT sources, cited anonymously in the programme, in return for carrying out various private construction jobs for municipal officials, Allbäck secured contracts for various public projects, which were then charged to the municipality at a cost in excess of their value.

Further accusations were leveled at the officials for accepting paid holidays to the French Riviera, luxury restaurant visits and car repairs - all paid for by Stefan Allbäck.

There are currently no suspects in the case, which could be extended to cover both the receipt (mutbrott) and the giving of bribes (bestickning).

"Not yet. We are looking at possible bribery offences, then we'll see where it leads," said Schultz, who will arrive in Gothenburg on Tuesday to open the investigation.

The SVT programme shows that when presented with details of apparent irregularities over inflated invoices and work charged for but never delivered, officials at the city's sports and clubs division declined to comment.

Story continues below…

Senior politicians in Gothenburg have responded to the allegations in the SVT programme by promising to get to the bottom of the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours buddy culture" which appears to have developed between officials employed within the municipality and publicly-owned firms and Stefan Allbäck.

On Thursday, the day after the programme aired, Anneli Hulthén, chairperson of the Gothenburg Municipality's executive board, called a meeting of all the municipal housing companies to discuss the allegations.

"I want to know if there are rumours over similar incidents in one of our other municipal housing companies. What are the control systems in place? Can we learn from each other? Familjeböstäder now claims that this could never happen today as they have new routines in place," said Anneli Hulthén to TT.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:39 April 30, 2010 by Streja
There is a factual error in this article Peter. It was not Allbäck's wife but Sune Larsson's wife.
14:41 April 30, 2010 by The Local
@Streja. Thank you for bringing the error to our attention. The article has now been updated.
16:23 April 30, 2010 by Streja
No worries! :)

I enjoyed the rest and might use it for a lesson next week!
10:47 August 3, 2010 by cosplay
There is a factual error in this article Peter. It was not Allbäck's wife but Sune Larsson's wife.
Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available