Sweden: Volvo Executives Convicted of Bribery
Two former executives of a subsidiary of Volvo have been convicted of paying bribes to Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq. Rune Lundberg and Hakan Nirstedt were found by the Swedish court to have paid $3.6 million in order to secure contracts for their company, Volvo Construction Equipment International AB (VCEI). The bribes were paid to bypass restrictions that had been put in place pursuant to the United Nations' 'Oil-for-Food Programme'.
VCEI is suspected of having paid a further $2.2 million in bribes to win contracts in the early 2000s, and in March 2008, Volvo was fined $19.6 million, in addition to profits and interest, for its role in the bribery scandal. Three executives of VCEI had been under investigation by Sweden's National Anti-Corruption Unit since 2006 for bribery offences.
The two men convicted were given suspended sentences and combined fines amounting to $27,000 despite the attorney for one of the convicted claiming that the UN's sanction committee had been aware that the Iraqi authorities demanded kickbacks when it approved the Volvo deal. It is possible an appeal will follow.