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Swedish agency partied for millions: report

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Swedish agency partied for millions: report
Photo: Abaransk/Flickr
07:11 CEST+02:00
Since January 2010 the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) has spent some 7.5 million kronor ($1.1 million) on internal entertainment such as luxury dinners and ski trips, equating to 25,000 kronor per employee.

The annual staff day alone, which was hosted by the prestigious Grand Hotel in Stockholm in May, ran up a bill in excess of one million kronor, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter daily.

The report included details of stays at castles and mansion, fine dining, wine and chocolate tasting, spa visits and excursions to islands and ski resorts.

In addition, a further 9 million was spent on internal training and other conferences.

The restaurant bill alone at the Grand Hotel indicated that dinner cost 428,225 kronor, equating to 1,476 kronor per head - more than double that stipulated in the agency's own guidelines.

In a similar event last year, the tax-payer funded agency hired the Cirkus arena in Stockholm and the dinner at nearby Hasselbacken ran to 200,000 kronor.

In 2010 the China Theatre was the venue and dinner was taken at the Sheraton.

The agency' director-general Christina Calm conceded that some of the costs incurred were unacceptable but mounted a defence of others.

"The Grand Hotel was actually the cheapest option," she told Dagens Nyheter.

Last year the agency was given an extra six million kronor to be able to cover its costs, although this year the government rejected a new request. The decision means that the agency will be forced to save 10 million kronor.

TT/The Local/pvs

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