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Dodgy booze bill leads to Swedish lobbyist probe

TT/Clara Guibourg · 27 Dec 2011, 11:22

Published: 27 Dec 2011 11:22 GMT+01:00

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A review of entertainment bills from West Sweden revealed the organization, which works to attract EU funding to dozens of municipalities in western Sweden, regularly accounted for its hefty liquor bills through its subsidiary in the European Union capital, according to Svergies Radio (SR).

West Sweden's board has now facing an internal probe launched by at the behes of incoming board chair, Social Democrat Robert Hammarstrand

One one occasion, 13 politicians and bosses convened and together drank 11 bottles of wine, and 17 large beers, according to SR's review of West Sweden's entertainment bills.

The 6,000 kronor ($880) bill didn't strike CEO Kjell Peterson as remarkable.

"We don't have any such limitations. They can drink wine if they want," said Peterson to SR.

Despite this claim, West Sweden repeatedly chose to divide their bills for board meetings.

Food and living costs were neatly organized in binders at the firm's Gothenburg office.

Liquor bills, however, were recorded in Brussels, hidden in West Sweden's subsidiary.

Incoming chair Hammarstrand emphasized the need to review the organization's practices.

"The needs of our different members varies quite a bit when it comes to West Sweden's activities. And West Sweden has been around since 1992, so it's natural to make this review. A lot has changed since then," he told SR.

Story continues below…

West Sweden works as western Sweden's link to Brussels, and roughly 70 municipalities in the area pay for the organisation in hopes it will succeed in securing EU funding for the region.

In the last ten years, West Sweden has been funded with roughly 150 million kronor in public money, reported SR.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:40 December 27, 2011 by Abe L
Really, "sizeable" liquor bills? How is a 6k SEK bill sizable for meetings of the board of an organization, that is nothing. Even if the booze bill processing happened through a subsidiary that is not a big deal, various organization will process different billing through different divisions that is very common practice.

The fact that they are tax funded isn't a really a factor. If the organization serves a purpose then they probably receive the funding for a good reason and these are far from outrageous spendings. If they do not serve a purpose then it should simply seize to exist, but this is far from as shocking as the article makes it seem.
14:03 December 27, 2011 by RobinHood
Sadly schmoozing politicos and fat cats with fine wines is part and parcel of attracting business to Sweden worth hundreds of millions of Crowns.

6 000 crowns between 13 doesn't sound that extravagant to me. Some of these "bosses" spend more than that on a good cigar.

Of course the tax should be accounted for in the correct way, but as scandals go, this one seems like small beer.
14:07 December 27, 2011 by Great Scott
@ Abe L

I hear your point. But would I be right if you though that giving a few kronor of tax payers money to an unemployed person who has a wife and two kids to support, would be immoral.
20:14 December 29, 2011 by johan rebel
They can drink as much as they want for all I care, but this just goes to show what a complete waste of money this EU regional subsidy program is. Sweden is an affluent country and doesn't need a sigle cent of EU funding. Yet they keep on pumping the cash in, a lot of which ends up in undeserving pockets.
16:30 January 2, 2012 by J Jack
"13 politicians and bosses convened and together drank 11 bottles of wine, and 17 large beers" so what? That's only less than 1 bottle of wine each and a drop of beer. Hardly a session and probably not enough to get pissed.
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