Historically ranking high on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index,2 Sweden is generally perceived as having low levels of corruption,3 and for a long time corruption was not considered an issue. However, in recent years several major Swedish companies have been the subject of bribery allegations in the media, primarily because of conduct relating to their foreign operations.4 The media attention has raised awareness of the issue and of the de facto presence of corruption and bribery in Swedish society, and has led to increased efforts to combat corruption, both by the authorities and by private entities.
Since 2012, Swedish provisions on bribery have primarily been found in Chapter 10 of the Swedish Penal Code (the Penal Code); the legislation was revised in an effort to modernise the anti-corruption provisions and introduce sustainable, more efficient legislation. In addition to certain editorial changes, two new bribery offences were introduced to widen the scope of the anti-bribery legislation: trading in influence and negligent financing of bribery.
Sweden is continuously working to strengthen its anti-corruption framework, through legislative revisions and by placing more demands on the internal processes of companies. As a result of the efforts of the past years, Sweden now has a more comprehensive anti-corruption system in place, including legislation criminalising most forms of bribery. In the wake of the legislative developments and the media's focus on corporate corrupt behaviour, anti-corruption is much higher on the agenda in Swedish business society today than it was 10 years ago. One of Sweden's current challenges is to successfully enforce its anti-corruption legislation on acts of bribery by Swedish companies abroad.
II DOMESTIC BRIBERY: LEGAL FRAMEWORK
i Taking a bribe and giving a bribe
Pursuant to Chapter 10, Section 5(a) of the Penal Code, an employee or contractor may not receive, accept a promise of or request an improper benefit for the carrying out of the employment or assignment (passive bribery).
Section 5(b) similarly prohibits the provision, promising or offering of an improper benefit to an employee or contractor for the carrying out of the employment or assignment (active bribery).
Three components are central to the assessment of the bribery offence: (1) the persons involved; (2) the connection between the recipient's position and the benefit; and (3) the nature of the benefit. The same conditions apply to both offences.
ii The persons involved and the connection to performance of duties
The provisions apply to anyone who is an employee or performs a function or assignment, in either the public or the private sector. The benefit does not have to have any actual effect on the recipient's actions, the essential element is that there is some connection between the benefit given or received and the performance of duties. To constitute a bribery offence, it is sufficient that a benefit objectively has the potential to affect the recipient's actions or can be construed as a reward for an already undertaken action or omission.5
iii Improper benefit
Once a link between the recipient and the benefit has been established, criminal liability depends on whether the benefit can be considered 'improper'. The term 'improper' is not defined in the Penal Code and, in most cases, the nature of a benefit must be determined through an assessment of all relevant circumstances in each case.
The giving of money is essentially always considered improper. However, there is no regulated minimum monetary value for an improper benefit. The value of a benefit must be put in relation to the nature of the office held by the recipient. Naturally, the giving and receiving of benefits within the public sector is viewed much more strictly than within the private sector because of the importance of protecting and maintaining trust in the decision-making process of public authorities. Therefore, even very insignificant gifts of little or no monetary value can be inappropriate if the recipient occupies a public office or handles sensitive processes, such as public procurement.6
Owing to general business practice within some industries, a more valuable benefit may be permitted if it falls within the norms of courteous or customary behaviour (e.g., certain invitations to traditional hunting events within the forest industry sector or invitations from sponsors to sporting events). Equally, if a benefit fulfils a professional purpose for the recipient, the benefit may be permissible (e.g., a lunch with clients), as long as the benefit is proportionate to the purpose.
Personal relationships between the giver and the recipient can constitute an extenuating factor if the benefit is exclusively or substantially given because of the personal relationship, and not because of the connection to the recipient's professional position. By way of example, in a Supreme Court case from 2009, the Swedish Supreme Court found that a son's gift of a relatively expensive wine cooler to his father's public defence lawyer was exclusively, or at least substantially, given within their personal relationship, and therefore not in connection with the performance of the lawyer's duties as a public defender.7
Swedish legislation does not permit so-called facilitation payments.
iv Gross bribery offence
Pursuant to Chapter 10, Section 5(c) of the Penal Code, a bribery offence is considered a gross offence if it involves the abuse of or an assault on a position of particular responsibility. According to the same provision, the bribery can be considered a gross offence if the bribe was of considerable value or if the act was part of systematic criminal activity, criminal activity of a systematic nature, of large proportions or if it was otherwise of a particularly dangerous nature.
v Trading in influence
In 2012, the offence of trading in influence was introduced in Chapter 10, Section 5(d) of the Penal Code. This provision concerns the public sector. It prohibits receiving, accepting a promise of or requesting an improper benefit to influence a person who exercises public authority or decides on public procurements, and also prohibits providing, promising or offering an improper benefit for the recipient to influence the decision maker in exercising public authority or deciding on a public procurement.
vi Negligent financing of bribery
In 2012, the offence of negligent financing of bribery was also added to Chapter 10, Section 5(e) of the Penal Code, targeting situations where a company's representatives, agents or partners provide funds to a third party. Gross negligence on the part of the company is enough for liability to be imposed, requiring companies to take appropriate action to ensure that funds are not used for corrupt purposes. Accordingly, and in essence reminiscent of the UK Bribery Act, this provision imposes a duty on companies to have 'adequate procedures' in place to prevent bribery being committed by their intermediaries. However, since gross negligence is required, there is no automatic liability for companies that do not have adequate procedures in place.
The provision applies to both the public and the private sector, domestically and internationally, but was introduced mainly to target Swedish companies operating in markets where there is a high risk of corruption.8
vii The Code on Business Conduct
When the revised anti-bribery legislation was implemented in 2012, the Swedish Anti-Corruption Institute9 presented the Code on Gifts, Rewards and other Benefits in Business (the Code on Business Conduct), which provides further guidance on the anti-bribery provisions of the Penal Code. The Code on Business Conduct is generally stricter than the provisions in the Penal Code and it is an effective tool to promote self-regulation as a means to combat corruption in society. The Swedish Anti-Corruption Institute also has an Ethics Committee to which companies and individuals can turn for statements regarding whether certain specific actions (e.g., planned events with clients) are in accordance with the Code on Business Conduct. The Ethics Committee normally publishes its decisions on the Anti-Corruption Institute website.
viii Political contributions
Political contributions are not prohibited in Sweden. Since April 2014, following the introduction of the Transparency of Party Funding Act,10 all political parties that participate in elections to the Swedish or European Parliament have been obliged to keep proper books and accounts of all party funding and to submit an annual revenue report to the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency.11 The report is to provide transparency on the origin of the party's funding by specifying the respective amounts received from individuals, corporations, organisations, foundations, etc. If a contribution exceeds a certain amount,12 the contributor's identity and the size of the contribution must be disclosed. Political parties must also specifically disclose the size and number of all anonymous contributions made to the party. The information is made available to the public on the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency website. The Agency also publishes the names of the parties that have not submitted the annual revenue report.
ix Corporate fines
Only natural persons can be held criminally liable according to Swedish law. However, legal entities can be subject to corporate fines pursuant to Chapter 36, Section 7 of the Penal Code if a criminal offence is committed within the scope of a company's business operations, and the company has failed to undertake reasonable actions that could have prevented the criminal offence. A company can also be subject to such corporate fines if the offence was committed by (1) a person with a position of authority due to a right to represent, and make decisions on behalf of, the company or (2) by a person with particular duties to monitor or supervise the company's operations.
Corporate fines range from 5,000 kronor up to 10 million kronor. A corporate fine of up to 500,000 kronor may be imposed through an order of summary imposition of a fine.13 If the defendant contests the order, regular criminal court proceedings will be initiated against the defendant.
The size of a fine may, to some extent, be mitigated if the company has taken actions to prevent or reduce the damaging effects of the criminal offence or reported the crime voluntarily, or if the fine would render the combined penalty on the company disproportionate to the offence.14 A state inquiry into the corporate fines system was presented in 2016.15
Additionally, companies in breach of anti-corruption legislation face debarment from tendering for public procurement contracts pursuant to the Public Procurement Act.16
The penalty for a bribery offence is a fine or imprisonment for up to two years, or, in cases of gross offence, six months to six years. In addition to the penalty sentence, the court generally also orders disgorgement of the proceeds of the crime (i.e., the assets received with respect to passive bribery and the ill-gotten revenues in cases of active bribery). If confiscation is not possible because of the nature of the bribe, the recipient must pay a penalty fine equivalent to the estimated value of the bribe received.
III ENFORCEMENT: DOMESTIC BRIBERY
i Authorities and agencies focusing on corruption
To provide the Swedish Prosecution Office with specialist competence, a special public prosecution office, the National Anti-Corruption Unit (NACU),17 is tasked with administering investigations regarding crimes of corruption. To provide NACU with additional support and investigative resources, a National Corruption Group was founded within the police authority in 2012, consisting of specialists within the field of corruption.
ii Deferred prosecution agreements and other structured criminal settlements
Apart from the regime of summary imposition of a fine for less serious criminal acts (see Section II.ix), Sweden does not have a system of plea bargains, deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) or other arrangements in place alongside regular court processes. That being said, it follows from Chapter 29, Section 5 of the Penal Code that when determining a penalty the court shall, to a reasonable degree, take into account to what extent the defendant reported the crime voluntarily or provided information essential to the investigation of the crime. However, to our knowledge, this provision in the Penal Code has never been applied by the courts in connection with any larger corruption case.
Although Sweden does not have a system of DPAs, the concept is still relevant to Swedish companies. In a recent case where the Swedish telecoms operator Telia Company was accused of bribery offences abroad (see Section VI), the Swedish authorities worked together with the US and Dutch authorities, who also claimed jurisdictional reach over the offences. The outcome was a global settlement in the form of a DPA.
iii Recent legal cases
Following a few high-profile corruption cases, for example in the 2010s,18 no major domestic cases have come to light in recent years. The courts continue to apply the anti-bribery provisions in cases of minor, everyday corruption, which is rarely reported on in the media.
Several cases concern situations in which carers within the home-care industry have accepted a gift or other benefit from a client, sometimes because a friendship has developed and sometimes because of undue influence on the elderly.19 The conclusion that can be drawn from these cases is that only on very rare occasions can a carer accept a gift from a patient, because the recipient's professional position as a carer typically renders the gift an improper benefit. In one instance, a woman who received money from a former client through testamentary disposition was acquitted by both the district court and the court of appeal,20 because the court could clearly establish through testimonies and documentation that the inheritance was based on a strong friendship that had developed after the carer's employment had ended. Regarding gross bribery offences, the courts have specifically taken into account the value of the gift or benefit, any undue use of public office and the seriousness of taking advantage of elderly people who depend on the services of their carers.
Although large-scale corruption does occur, Sweden does not generally experience systematic bribery. The most common forms of bribery appear to be instances of private individuals attempting to influence public officials, often in relation to applications for permits, to gain access to information or to avoid responsibility for minor criminal offences. Within the private sector, bribes generally consist of simple benefits of limited monetary value, such as conference trips, technical products or dinners. This finding was presented in the most recent state sanctioned report on corruption published by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention in 2013.21 The same trends are seen today.
IV FOREIGN BRIBERY: LEGAL FRAMEWORK
The same government bodies that are responsible for enforcing domestic bribery laws also address foreign bribery. All the bribery provisions in the Penal Code are applicable to acts of bribery committed abroad, provided that the acts are subject to the jurisdiction of Swedish courts. Pursuant to Chapter 2, Section 2 of the Penal Code, Swedish courts have jurisdiction over criminal offences committed abroad if the crime was committed by a Swedish citizen, a foreign citizen domiciled in Sweden or if the criminal offence falls under universal jurisdiction. The implementation of the provision regarding negligent financing of bribery was an attempt at creating further options to hold both natural and legal persons liable for bribery offences committed abroad.
Additionally, there is a general requirement of double incrimination: the offence must be penalised under the law of the country where it was committed. Swedish jurisdiction is impeded if the statute of limitations has expired in the foreign jurisdiction.
As previously mentioned, Swedish legislation does not provide an exception for facilitating payments to foreign officials.
V ASSOCIATED OFFENCES: FINANCIAL RECORD-KEEPING AND MONEY LAUNDERING
i Financial record-keeping provisions
The main regulations on financial record-keeping are provided in the Bookkeeping Act.22 Chapter 4, Section 1 of the Bookkeeping Act outlines the requirements placed on legal entities, and on natural persons who carry out business activities. The requirements include the maintaining of regular records of all business transactions, archiving all accounting information in an orderly state and in a satisfactory and transparent manner in Sweden for seven years, and closing the accounts with an annual financial statement or report each financial year. The annual statement or report shall be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Annual Accounts Act.23
Additional provisions on financial record-keeping can be found in the Swedish Companies Act, the Auditing Act, the Income Tax Act,24 and in the Anti-Money Laundering Act described below in Section V.ii.
Pursuant to Chapter 11, Section 5 of the Penal Code, the failure to maintain accounts can constitute a bookkeeping offence carrying a sentence of fines or imprisonment for up to two years, or up to six years in the case of a gross offence.
ii Money laundering
According to Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority (SFSA),25 there are no reliable estimates of the extent of money laundering in Sweden.26 In 2017, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)27 evaluated Sweden on the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing measures and compliance with the FATF Recommendations, and rated Sweden as a country needing enhanced follow-up. The recent revision of the Swedish anti-money laundering legislation has led to the FATF re-rating Sweden and moving the country from enhanced to regular follow-up, because of Sweden's progress in strengthening its framework to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.28 However, the FATF points out that the understanding of money laundering-related risks is not consistent across authorities in Sweden, and that sanctions and supervision are still inefficient in certain areas relating to money laundering.29
Two main laws in Sweden aim to regulate money laundering: the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (the Anti-Money Laundering Act) and the Money Laundering Offences Act.30 The latter is a penal regulation that came into force in July 2014 following a state inquiry on the need to make the anti-money laundering legislation more efficient and accessible.31 Pursuant to the Money Laundering Offences Act, the penalty for a money laundering-related crime ranges from a fine to up to six years' imprisonment.
An updated Anti-Money Laundering Act entered into force on 1 August 2017 and contains the administrative regulations that apply to entities within certain sectors.32 Natural and legal persons who are subject to the legislation are responsible for implementing procedures to prevent and discover money laundering activities or financing of terrorism in their operations.33 If suspicious activities are detected, such entities are obligated to immediately report the anomalies to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Swedish National Police Board.
iii Tax law
Pursuant to Chapter 9, Section 10 of the Income Tax Act, any domestic or foreign payment that could constitute a bribe or unlawful benefit is non-deductible.
VI ENFORCEMENT: FOREIGN BRIBERY AND ASSOCIATED OFFENCES
Despite allegations of foreign bribery made against Swedish companies, the allegations have rarely led to convictions. In a 2012 report on Sweden's implementation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention,34 the OECD expressed concern about Sweden's lack of enforcement against legal persons for foreign bribery offences.35 In the years since, Sweden has reported significant progress on the enforcement of the offence of bribing a foreign official, according to the OECD follow-up report in 2014.36
In the spring of 2016, several Swedish banks were implicated in what has become known as the largest data leak in history: the Panama Papers. Nordea Bank (Nordea), one of four major banks in Sweden, was identified as one of the most active banks worldwide in assisting its customers in setting up anonymous shell companies for the purpose of tax evasion. Once the leak became known, the SFSA initiated an investigation against Nordea.
Prior to the Panama Papers, in 2015, the SFSA had carried out a general investigation into Nordea's application of the anti-money laundering legislation. The investigation exposed serious systematic shortcomings and, as a result, Nordea was issued with a warning and fined 50 million kronor.37 To remediate, Nordea adopted a rigorous compliance plan, which the bank was still implementing at the time of the Panama Papers scandal. The SFSA concluded that Nordea's lack of adequate anti-money laundering procedures was the explanation for Nordea's involvement in the Panama Papers, and recognised that the bank was still working to implement proper procedures. Therefore, the SFSA announced that Nordea would not face any further penalties following its involvement in the Panama Papers affair.
In 2012, Swedish telecoms firm Telia Company (Telia, then TeliaSonera) became the subject of investigation following accusations that the company had paid millions of dollars to the daughter of the President of Uzbekistan to obtain necessary licences and access to the Uzbek telecoms operator market in 2007. The investigation was continued by American, Dutch and Swedish authorities and, in September 2017, Telia reached a global settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Dutch Public Prosecution Service. As part of the settlement, Telia will pay a combined penalty amounting to approximately US$965 million. The total disgorgement of approximately US$457 million ordered by the SEC is reported as the greatest such disgorgement ever ordered in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action.38 However, that amount includes US$40 million for the DOJ forfeiture and US$208.5 million for potential disgorgements in the Dutch and Swedish legal proceedings. Moreover, charges have been filed against three former executives of Telia for their involvement in the bribery scheme; the main hearing of the case, in the Stockholm District Court, began in September 2018. As the alleged offences were committed prior to 2012, their actions will be assessed in accordance with the former anti-bribery legislation; therefore, among other things, the prosecutor must be able to show intent. Furthermore, the recipient of the alleged bribes must be considered to belong to the specified category of persons who can be bribed pursuant to the former legislation. In connection with the filing of charges against the former executives, the Swedish prosecutor also initiated legal proceedings against Telia for a disgorgement of the company's allegedly ill-gotten profits in Uzbekistan.
Another case that caught the public eye involved the Swedish subsidiary of the Canadian rail vehicle and equipment manufacturing company Bombardier Transportation. The company was under investigation for allegedly having channelled bribes to unidentified Azerbaijan officials to secure a tender to supply the state of Azerbaijan with a train signalling system. Despite not providing the best offer in the procurement, Bombardier won the tender in 2013, because the competitors were disqualified by the rail authority in Azerbaijan. Criminal proceedings were initiated against a Russian national and employee of Bombardier Transportation Sweden, who allegedly had a central role in the bribery scheme. The employee was acquitted by the district court;39 the prosecutor has appealed the acquittal and the hearing is planned for January 2019. According to the Swedish prosecutor, investigations of other high-ranking employees at Bombardier Transportation Sweden are being carried out.
VII INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND AGREEMENTS
Sweden is a signatory of numerous international conventions on anti-corruption (e.g., the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption). In addition, Sweden is a member of organisations such as the Group of States against Corruption, the European Partners against Corruption and the European contact-point network against corruption.
VIII LEGISLATIVE DEVELOPMENTS
As from the start of the 2017 financial year, Swedish legislation obliges large companies40 to report on the environmental, social and governance-related risks within their operations, including their anti-corruption policies and their strategies on how to prevent and mitigate such risks.41 The new provisions are based on the 2014 EU Directive on non-financial reporting.42 Sweden chose to implement more far-reaching provisions than the Directive demanded, to target a larger group of Swedish companies.
On 1 January 2017, Sweden's first Whistleblowing Act entered into force.43 The Whistleblowing Act does not regulate the right to blow the whistle per se, but rather provides employees, as well as temporary workers, with protection from reprisals from the employer by placing a statutory liability for damages on the employer. The Whistleblowing Act applies to both the public and the private sectors. For the Whistleblowing Act to be applicable, a whistle-blower must first sound the alarm internally and must present a concrete suspicion of serious wrongdoing. If the employee has reasonable cause or if the employer fails to take appropriate measures, the employee can blow the whistle externally and still enjoy the protection of the Whistleblowing Act. Should an employee commit a crime when blowing the whistle, he or she forfeits the protection of the Act.
In June 2017, the parliament passed new legislation regarding the registration of beneficial owners (the Beneficial Ownership Act),44 thus implementing the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.45 The Beneficial Ownership Act entered into force on 1 August 2017. Legal entities are obligated to notify the Swedish Companies Registration Office of who their beneficial owners are. By increasing transparency concerning ownership and the actual control of companies, the new law is part of ongoing efforts to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism. Legal entities must obtain reliable information about the identity, nature and extent of the owner's interest. If such information cannot be obtained, the legal entity must still inform the Swedish Companies Registration Office46 about that lack of information. Any changes in beneficial ownership must also be reported.
After the investigation into Sweden's application of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 2012, one of the OECD's primary recommendations was for Sweden to revise its corporate fines system to ensure that the framework is effective and in line with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.47 In May 2016, the government presented a state inquiry proposing legislative amendments to the corporate fines system.48 The inquiry suggests a wider application of corporate fines to include public sector activities that can be considered equal to private business activities, as well as other activities intended to bring the legal person financial benefits. When determining the size of the fine, the inquiry suggests that the financial position of the companies be considered. Most importantly, it proposes that the maximum amount of the fine for particularly reprehensible offences should be raised from 10 million to 100 million kronor – a significant increase that would better correspond to international standards.
IX OTHER LAWS AFFECTING THE RESPONSE TO CORRUPTION
Lawyers who are members of the Swedish Bar Association have a duty of confidentiality in respect of matters disclosed to, or that otherwise become known to, the lawyer within the framework of his or her legal practice.49 Exceptions to this duty arise when the client consents to disclosure of the information or if there is a legal obligation to provide information.
All entities subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act must report suspicious transactions or other anomalies within their operations to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Swedish National Police Board. This also applies to lawyers who have reason to suspect that money laundering is being undertaken or that a client's property or transaction has criminal origins. Lawyers are exempt from this requirement whenever they defend or represent a client in the context of judicial proceedings.
Accountants performing statutory revisions are always obligated to report suspicions of criminal activity.
ii Money laundering and data protection
As mentioned in Section VIII, Sweden recently implemented the Whistleblowing Act in an effort to improve whistle-blower protection. Prior to May 2018, companies with whistle-blowing systems in Sweden had to ensure compliance with the Personal Data Act50 and the Data Inspection Agency's regulations.51 In May 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation entered into force providing a single set of regulations in all EU Member States, thus replacing the national laws. The Regulation contains stricter data protection and enforcement provisions than the former national legislation. Whistle-blowing systems must adhere to stricter technical requirements; data protection (i.e., 'privacy by default') must be an integral part of any whistle-blowing system. Furthermore, the Regulation imposes obligatory pseudonymisation and stricter data processing agreements, and places higher demands on documentation and on communication to employees. Companies are also obliged to notify the supervisory authority of all data breaches.
Compliance is universally viewed as an important part of business conduct in Sweden, and most large and medium-sized companies have some form of internal compliance programme and relevant processes in place. For certain financial institutions, compliance is regulated by decrees from the Financial Supervisory Authority.52
The government does not provide any general guidance on what constitutes an effective anti-corruption compliance programme. The Code on Business Conduct53 contains broad recommendations with respect to the implementation of policy documents as preventative measures against improper influencing.54 The Code on Business Conduct does not provide any more detailed guidance on how to implement an efficient anti-corruption compliance programme.
As mentioned in Section II.ix, above, self-reporting of an offence or a company's efforts to prevent and reduce damage can be mitigating factors when the court determines the size of corporate fines, pursuant to Chapter 36, Section 10 of the Penal Code.
XI OUTLOOK AND CONCLUSIONS
Looking back on the past few decades, it is clear that Sweden has made significant progress as far as anti-corruption work is concerned. Much of what was once tolerated as cronyism and nepotism, or as accepted business practice, is now regulated and looked upon as corrupt behaviour by the public. Today, most agencies, authorities and other state-controlled organisations and companies have internal control mechanisms and codes of conduct in place to prevent and deal with corrupt behaviour. This work is certain to continue.
As previously stated, one of Sweden's main challenges is to better enforce its anti-bribery legislation in cases of bribery by Swedish companies abroad. The revision of the anti-bribery legislation in 2012 was a step in that direction, but the full effect of the revision is yet to be seen. Currently, case law remains silent regarding the two newer offences (trading in influence and negligent financing of bribery); no one has yet been convicted for either offence. Swedish companies are regularly facing bribery allegations in the media, and the lack of convictions is seen by some as an indication that the Swedish anti-corruption framework is not adequate. The Telia case is a good example of the type of situation that the new provisions are intended to target. Nevertheless, the outcome in the currently ongoing trial of the three Telia executives is still of great interest and is likely to influence the direction of future legislative updates.
Finally, it is being discussed whether Sweden should follow in the footsteps of other European countries, such as France, and adopt a system for DPAs or legislate on corporate criminal liability. These issues are the subject of an ongoing general debate, but thus far there are no official state inquiries or legislative proposals under way.
1 David Ackebo and Elisabeth Vestin are partners and Saara Ludvigsen is an associate at Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd.
2 In the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, Sweden's position suffered a slight decline, and it is now ranked in sixth place.
4 See Section VI, below.
5 Travaux préparatoires, Prop. 2011/12:79, p. 43.
6 In 2012, a police officer was convicted of taking a bribe when he accepted a salad worth 65 kronor for not filing a report of a traffic offence. Gothenburg District Court, judgment of 12 April 2012 in case No. B 14488-11.
7 See Swedish Supreme Court case NJA 2009 s. 751.
8 Travaux préparatoires, Prop. 2011/12:79, p. 36.
9 Sw. Institutet Mot Mutor, IMM.
10 Sw. Lag (2014:105) om insyn i finansiering av partier.
11 Sw. Kammarkollegiet.
12 The amount is equal to half of the full-price basic amount established pursuant to Chapter 2, Sections 6–7 of the Social Security Code. The full-price basic amount for 2019 is 46,500 kronor.
13 See Chapter 48, Section 4 of the Swedish Code of Legal Procedure (Sw. Strafföreläggande).
14 See Chapter 36, Section 10 of the Penal Code.
15 SOU 2016:82, En översyn av lagstiftningen om företagsbot.
16 See Chapter 13 of the Swedish Public Procurement Act (2007:1091).
17 Sw. Riksenheten mot korruption.
18 The 'Gothenburg Municipality bribery scandal' in 2010, which led to several indictments, and the 'Swedish Prisons and Probations services' case in 2014, which led to imprisonments, disgorgements and corporate fines in several instances (Svea Court of Appeal, judgment of 31 March 2016, in case No. B 8605-14).
19 See, e.g.: Svea Court of Appeal, judgment of 11 February 2016, case No. B 8022-15; the Swedish Supreme Court, judgment of 23 November 2016, case No. B 4940-16; Gothenburg District Court, judgment of 28 March 2017, case No. B 505-17; Nacka District Court, judgment of 2 June 2017, case No. B 5497-16; and Attunda District Court, judgment of 1 September 2017, criminal case No. B 9776-16.
20 Svea Court of Appeal, judgment of 8 September 2016, case No. B 3015-16.
21 National Council for Crime Prevention (Sw. Brottsförebyggande rådet), Reported Corruption in Sweden, 2013:12, Stockholm.
22 Sw. Bokföringslag (1999:1078).
23 Sw. Årsredovisningslag (1995:1554).
24 Sw. Aktiebolagslag (2005:551), Revisorslag (2001:883), and Inkomstskattelag (1999:1229) respectively.
25 Sw. Finansinspektionen.
26 'Penningtvätt – En nationell riskbedömning' ('Money laundering – a national risk assessment'), a joint report by authorities in law enforcement, published 30 August 2013.
27 An inter-governmental body that sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
29 FATF (2017), Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures – Sweden, Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation Report, FATF, Paris; www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-sweden-2017.html.
30 Sw. Lag (2017:630) om åtgärder mot penningtvätt och finansiering av terrorism, and Lag (2014:307) om straff för penningtvättsbrott, respectively.
31 Travaux préparatoires, Prop. 2013/14:121, p. 44.
32 The legislative update was carried out to ensure compliance with EU regulations on anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism.
33 Travaux préparatoires, Prop. 2016/17:173, p. 2.
34 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
35 OECD, 'Phase 3 Report on Implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in Sweden', June 2012, p. 5.
36 OECD, 'Sweden: Follow-Up to the Phase 3 Report & Recommendations', August 2014, p. 4.
37 Decision of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, Dnr 13-1784. Accessed in full at www.fi.se/sv/publicerat/sanktioner/finansiella-foretag/2015/nordea-far-varning-och-straffavgift/, 25 September 2017.
39 Stockholm District Court, judgment of 11 October 2017 in case No. B 1282-17.
40 According to Chapter 6, Section 10 of the Annual Accounts Act, companies that meet two of the following criteria are subject to the non-financial reporting demands: in the past two fiscal years the company (1) has had more than 250 employees; (2) for each of the years has reported total assets of over 175 million kronor; and (3) for each of the years has reported total net sales of more than 350 million kronor.
41 See Lagrådsremiss, Företagens rapportering om hållbarhet och mångfaldspolicy, 19 May 2016, p. 43.
42 Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups.
43 Sw. Lag (2016:749) om särskilt skydd mot repressalier för arbetstagare som slår larm om allvarliga missförhållanden.
44 Sw. Lag (2017:631) om registrering av verkliga huvudmän.
45 Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No. 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC.
46 Sw. Bolagsverket.
47 OECD, Phase 3 Report on Implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in Sweden, June 2012. Accessed in full on www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/sweden-oecdanti-briberyconvention.htm.
48 Travaux préparatoires, SOU 2016:82, En översyn av lagstiftningen om företagsbot, p. 26.
49 Pursuant to Chapter 8, Section 4 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure, and to Section 34 of the Charter of the Swedish Bar Association.
50 Sw. Personuppgiftslagen (1998:204).
52 Financial Supervisory Authority Regulations, FFFS 2007:16, Chapter 6, Section 9.
53 Described in Section II.vii above.
54 Section 12 of the Code of Business Conduct.