Carnegie demands 8.4 billion kronor from state

The former owners of Carnegie Investment Bank are suing the Swedish state for 8.4 billion kronor ($1.1 billion) over the enforced takeover of the bank during the financial crisis in 2008.

Holding company D. Carnegie & Co is demanding compensation for shares in Carnegie and Max Matthiessen, which the the National Debt Office (Riksgäld) took over in November 2008. The takeover was made under laws to safeguard the stability of the financial sector.

This is the second time that D. Carnegie has attempted to gain compensation.

“D. Carnegie & Co’s new petition does not represent anything new,” Riksgäld director Bo Lundgren said in a statement. “Without state aid, Carnegie would have gone bankrupt and would have threatened financial stability during the financial crisis.”

In the fall of 2008, Carnegie could not longer secure loans from the financial markets and was forced to seek emergency loans from Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank. The bank’s situation was compounded when the Financial Supervisory Authority (Finaninspektion, FI) withdrew its banking license.

In order to protect lenders and avoid further disruption to the financial sector, the Riksgäld reached an agreement with D. Carnegie if it could no longer finance itself and took over ownership of Carnegie and Max Matthiessen.

In a previous process that is still ongoing, Carnegie requested that the valuation of the agreement between the parties be examined. At the same time, it is now suggesting that the agreement is invalid.

The law says that the valuation of a bank that cannot manage without state support should be treated as if there were no state aid.

Last week, the European Commission gave its final approval to the Riksgäld’s restructuring and sale of Carnegie Investment Bank and Max Mathiessen.

The first preliminary hearing will be held in court between Carnegie and the state at Stockholm District Court on Monday.

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Governments including Sweden’s see support tumble for their handling of COVID-19, survey shows

Governments are fast losing support for their handling of the coronavirus outbreak from a public that widely believes death and infection figures to be higher than statistics show, a survey of six countries including Sweden revealed on Saturday.

Governments including Sweden's see support tumble for their handling of COVID-19, survey shows
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven (L) speaks with Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during an EU summit in Brussels on July 20, 2020. AFP

Support for the federal government of the United States, the country with the most reported infections and deaths, dropped by four percentage points from mid-June, with 44 percent of respondents declaring themselves dissatisfied, said a report by the Kekst CNC communications consulting group.

In Britain, just over a third of respondents approved of their government's actions, a three-point decline in one month, according to the report, based on an opinion poll conducted over five days in mid-July. 

It also included France, Sweden, Japan and Germany.

“In most countries this month, support for national governments is falling,” the report said.

The notable exception was France, where approval rose by six percentage points, yielding a dissatisfaction rate of 41 percent.

France, which has the world's seventh-highest COVID-19 toll, has all but emerged from lockdown but has seen infections increase in recent days, prompting the government to order face masks in all enclosed public spaces.

In Sweden, which took a controversial soft approach to lockdown and has a higher toll than its neighbours, the prime minister's approval rating has shrunk from a positive seven percent to a neutral zero, the poll found.


People who participated in the survey —  1,000 per country polled — generally believed the coronavirus to be more widespread, and more deadly, than official figures show.

“Despite relatively low incidence rates compared to earlier in the pandemic in most countries (with the exception of the US), people significantly overestimate the spread and fatality rate of the disease,” Kekst CNC said.

In Sweden and Britain, the public believed that six or seven percent of people have died from the coronavirus, about 100 times the reported rate.

In the United States, respondents estimated that almost a tenth of the population had died of the virus, more than 200 times the real toll, while Germans thought their tally was 300 times higher than what has been reported.

Such views, said the report, “will be impacting consumer behaviour and wider attitudes — business leaders and governments will need to be conscious of this as they move to restart economies and transition into living with coronavirus for the medium to longer term.”

The poll also revealed that fear of a second outbreak wave is growing, and that an ever larger number of people believe the impacts will last for more than a year.

People “are becoming resigned to living with coronavirus for the forseeable future, and looking to leaders and business to pave the way forward,” the report said.

They are also increasingly likely to prioritise limiting the spread of the virus even if the economy suffers.

“In the US, 54 percent want the government to prioritise limiting the spread of the virus over protecting the economy,” it said.

The poll found that mask-wearing was generally popular, except in Sweden, where only about 15 percent of people sport a face-covering in public.

Even in the United States, where mask-wearing has become a politically polarising issue, 63 percent of respondents said they were in favour.