Politicians say no to free biogas car over bribe risk

Volkswagen and Eon were hoping to raise the profile of biogas-fuelled cars during the ongoing election campaign by loaning them free of charge to politicians but the risk of being seen as a bribe put a stop to their plans.

“This would have been inappropriate,” Roger Berzell of the Social Democrats in Östergötland to the local Folkbaldet daily.

“We have to stay independent, public faith in politicians can be damaged if we would be so openly sponsored in an election campaign.”

Erik Fågelsbo at the National Anti-Corruption Unit (Riksenheten för korruption) told the newspaper that it be considered improper reward to a politician, which is not permitted under strict rules governing gifts.

Most of the party districts across the country have been offered the deal but only the Christian Democrats in Skåne, the Green Party in Sörmland, and the Centre party in Jönköping have said accepted.

Elsewhere legal experts have dismissed accusations levelled against Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel for allegedly accepting bribes in connection with their honeymoon.

In an interview with the Dagens Nyheter daily professor Claes Sandgren, chair of the Swedish Institute Against Bribes (Institute Mot Mutor – IMM), said that the loan of a yacht, Colorado mountain chalet, and private jet by Swedish businessman Bertil Hult should be regarded more as a gift between friends than a business arrangement.

“The reflection is that they (the Crown Princess and Prince Daniel) are in a grey zone. In the typical bribery situation there is some sort of influence on a decision or possibility to influence a decision. That is not the case here,” he said.

The Local reported on Monday that three people had reported the couple for accepting bribes from the tycoon and that prosecutors were thus looking into the case. Media adviser Paul Ronge told Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday that he doesn’t think the majority of Swedes are too upset over the news.

“It feels like a non issue. It is seen mostly as nice that Victoria and Daniel got to get away and have an enjoyable honeymoon,” he said.

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