Swedish Companies Worry More About Corruption Than Nordic Peers

Swedish companies are more worried about corruption being a threat to business than their Nordic peers and also to a higher degree view graft as a growing risk, according to a survey.

Corruption is viewed as a threat to their business by 18 percent of Swedish security chiefs, If AB (SAMAS) spokesman Daniel Claesson said today by phone. The Stockholm-based insurer has surveyed 400 publicly traded companies in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Norway came second with 13 percent. The ratio in Denmark was zero.

Corruption came into focus in Sweden last year after prosecutors started a probe into allegations that TeliaSonera AB (TLSN), the country’s biggest phone company, made bribes in Uzbekistan, Claesson said. Swedish companies have traditionally been perceived as relatively free from corruption, he said. Berlin-based Transparency International’s 2012 index ranks Sweden as the fourth-least-corrupt country in the world, based on a public sector review.

“Corruption has been a non-issue in Sweden before,” Claesson said. “It may be time to rethink that stance.”

About two thirds of Swedish companies said corruption is a growing risk. The ratios in Norway and Denmark were about one third of the companies. About one-fourth of Finnish companies saw corruption as a growing issue.

Denmark and Finland shared the top spot of Transparency International’s 2012 list of least corrupt countries together with New Zealand.

TeliaSonera, based in Stockholm, has denied any wrongdoing and is conducting its own investigation on the Uzbekistan allegations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janina Pfalzer in Stockholm at jpfalzer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Wienberg at cwienberg@bloomberg.net

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