Sweden opens criminal probe into Ericsson over Iraq corruption claims

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Sweden opens criminal probe into Ericsson over Iraq corruption claims
File photo of Ericsson's CEO Börje Ekholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Swedish prosecutors said on Wednesday they had opened up an investigation into cases of corruption involving telecoms giant Ericsson in Iraq, including suspected bribes to the Islamic State (IS) group.


Senior Public Prosecutor Leif Görts confirmed that the investigation had been launched following reports of potential corruption between 2011 and 2019.

"We have reason to believe that crimes of corruption may have been committed in Iraq during this time period and therefore deemed it necessary to open a preliminary investigation," Görts told AFP, stressing it was still in its "early stages."

The network equipment maker's chief executive Börje Ekholm conceded in a newspaper interview in February that some Ericsson employees may have bribed IS members for road transport through areas controlled by the group in Iraq.


The admission was made before the publication of a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealing that an internal Ericsson investigation from 2019 was never made public.

The internal probe had identified possible corruption between 2011 and 2019 in the group's Iraqi operations.

Ericsson has already agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties to US authorities to close corruption cases in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait in 2019, and said last week that it expected it would have to pay more fines over the Iraq case.

At Ericsson's annual meeting in late March, shareholders voted against discharging Ekholm and the board from liabilities, a normally routine decision. Both Ekholm and board members were nonetheless re-elected to their positions.

The Swedish firm's shares have lost over a quarter of their value since mid-February.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

masud.anowar 2022/04/21 10:22
I remember those days (2008-2017) when I was employed in Ericsson as an R&D Eng. and I had to go through a bunch of courses on Morale/Ethics dictated (or orchestrated) by the Ericsson Leadership team. It seems that the Ericsson leadership does not believe in the basic tenet of business Ethics/morale while discharging their duties otherwise we would not have seen so many corruption cases against the top brats. I would suggest the Ericsson Leaders to divert their focus from R&D engineers to top brats of the company as far as rendering those courses is concerned. This will save lots of working hours and resentment on the lower level of the company. Those who are discharging their duties holding vulnerable positions where morale or ethics could be compromised, should go through not only necessary courses but also psychological evaluation every now and then.

See Also