First-rate Swedish liquor bribe case

A Stockholm court on Monday ordered fines for 18 former liquor store managers and two employees of a wine supplier in a nationwide bribery scandal involving Sweden's state-owned alcohol monopoly.

The case was the first to go to trial in an investigation into bribes of US$152,000 allegedly paid by alcohol distributors to employees of the state company, Systembolaget.

Another 72 people, most of them former employees of Systembolaget, which runs the nationwide alcohol retail outlets, are facing charges in the investigation which unraveled two years ago.

The court said the two employees of the distributor Vin-Tradgardh had paid some US$24,000 in bribes to the 18 store managers to favor their products, in a country where strict rules govern alcohol sales.

The 20 defendants were ordered to pay fines ranging between US$190-6,500. It was not immediately clear whether they would appeal.

The scandal, outlined in a preliminary 5,400-page investigation report, started in January 2003 when Systembolaget fired five store managers accused of taking bribes from suppliers, the AP reports.


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