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Housing boss guilty in Gothenburg bribe trial

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Housing boss guilty in Gothenburg bribe trial
Lawyer Anders Munck, Olle Lundgren and prosecutor Nils Eric Schultz
17:41 CEST+02:00
A former housing chief was sentenced to 6 months in prison on Thursday for aggravated bribery as the court delivered its verdict in the first trial of the major Gothenburg bribery scandal.

Olle Lundgren, the former head of municipal housing company Poseidon, allegedly received 24 tonnes of free bricks with an estimated market value of at least 85,000 kronor ($13,500) from contractor Weinerberger.

During the trial, Lundgren's lawyer, Anders Munck, said his client admitted to receiving the bricks but insisted he believed he had paid for them.

Lundgren claimed to have paid 33,000 kronor to the company that delivered the bricks.

Munck said his client was convinced he had covered the cost of the building materials until the bribery accusations emerged last year.

“It was only in later years that he understood that he had only paid for the transport of the bricks,” said Munck.

Lundgren testified that he had been looking for materials that needed minimal maintenance and decided to opt for Weinerberger's bricks.

He explained that Weinerberg had initiated the contact, having heard about his project from an architect.

“We agreed on a price, which I didn't remember how high it was, but I thought it was a very good price,” he said at the time.

Lundgren had not had any previous dealings with the company but did not consider that he was taking a risk working with them.

He had thought that the price he paid seemed very good, but said he did not feel he was given favourable treatment because of his position as head of Poseidon.

Bo Wenner, who worked for Weinerberger in 2003, told the court that the company had given Poseidon chief the bricks in the hope that he would help them out in the future.

"The brick market has dipped way down in recent years. We have had to resort to odd methods in order to sell, including for example special reduction to get onto the building market,” Wenner said at the trial.

"We gave him the bricks in exchange for him covering the transportation cost,” he added.

The court ruled Thursday that Lundgren is guilty of aggravated bribery as he received the bricks in the course of his duties and as the thought behind the gift was that he would treat the company favourably in the future.

Lundgren also held a prominent position in the company and was responsible for contracts.

The court ruled that Lundgren receive the minimum sentence of six months in prison, as he will be leaving his position in the company.

The Gothenburg corruption scandal also involves the municipal housing firm Familjebostäder and the city's sports and clubs division, as well as the relationship between construction magnate Stefan Allbäck and municipal officials.

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