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Swedish report Swedish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-08-13 07:21:30
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Wedding gift triggers bribery claims against Swedish princess

A Swedish billionaire’s controversial wedding present to Crown Princess Victoria – the use of his private jet, yacht and luxury US ranch for her recent honeymoon in the South Pacific and North America – is pitting royalists against republicans in Sweden, amid allegations of corruption linked to the gift. Three separate complaints have been filed with the country’s anti- corruption unit against the heir to the Swedish crown. She is accused of accepting bribes, having attended events hosted by her benefactor’s companies and charities, and being linked to his charitable foundations in an official capacity.

Now prosecutors are to investigate whether the wedding gift contravenes Sweden’s bribery laws. Royalty and dignitaries from around the world attended the wedding between Crown Princess Victoria (33) and her former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, in Stockholm on June 19th. The newlyweds, tracked to a remote corner of French Polynesia by Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, had reached their secret honeymoon heaven thanks to the generosity of one of Sweden’s richest men, Bertil Hult (69), founder of the language course empire EF (Education First) a multinational with 22,000 employees in more than 50 countries.

The flamboyant entrepreneur is close to the Swedish royal family. In common with King Carl Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria, Mr Hult has dyslexia and has worked most closely with the princess on charitable foundations associated with dyslexia research. Members of the royal family usually attend his legendary birthday bashes, where the likes of Elton John entertain them. After it emerged that the newlyweds were using Mr Hult’s private jet and later his yacht for their south pacific cruise, and then lodging at his Colorado mansion – gifts according to Swedish media that run into several million kroner (hundreds of thousands of euro) pro- and anti-monarchists took opposing positions on the issue.


Swedish banks outperform European peers

Shares in Sweden's fourth biggest bank Swedbank, the biggest bank in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have soared almost six-fold since March 2009, beating a 132 percent increase in the 52-member Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index, the newswire said. SEB, the second largest lender in the former Soviet states, has more than tripled in market value during the same period. “Both banks are seen as a recovery story,” Kimmo Rama, a financial analyst at Evli Bank in Helsinki, told Bloomberg. “In the Baltic countries, credit quality has improved more rapidly than previously expected, and as a result loan losses have decreased strongly.”

Annika Falkengren, chief executive of SEB, said the bank has “turned a page in the Baltics” and that the drip feed of new bad loans has stopped. Also Swedbank said that credit quality has improved more rapidly than expected in the Baltic countries and the macroeconomic developments in its home markets have been favorable.  Sweden’s muscular revival from the recession also propels the banks towards higher stock market values. The country's GDP increased by 3.7 percent in the second quarter in working-day adjusted figures when compared to the second quarter of 2009. Exports increased by 14 percent and imports by 18 percent. The numbers are stronger than expected.

“Credit quality remains strong in Sweden,” Kimmo Rama told the newswire. “This, combined with a good economic outlook, will provide a good growth platform for the Swedish banks.” The economy will grow 3.8 percent this year, the Riksbank estimates, after last year’s 5.1 percent contraction.


Newspaper reported for child porn

The report was submitted by a Stockholm man together with examples of the cartoons published on DN.se and SVT.se depicting two men having sex in the background, and one of an obviously under-age girl exposing herself to an older man who becomes so turned on that he suffers a nose bleed. Dagens Nyheter editor-in-chief Gunilla Herlitz on Wednesday responded to the report by arguing that there were "no grounds for a police report".

"It was explained quite thoroughly in the article that there were no children in the pictures," she said. Herlitz explained the publication of the pictures in the context of a discussion over the classification of cartoons as pornography after the conviction of a well-known Swedish translator of manga comics for possession of drawings depicting children engaged in sexual acts.

"This article was an attempt to explain how the guilty ruling had come about, as it had received a great deal of criticism." Among the critics of current Swedish legislation cover child pornography which classifies cartoons as pornography, are the Pirate Party.

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