Sweden’s financial watchdog has reported at least one person to the police on suspicion of corruption regarding Alecta’s troublesome investment in residential property firm Heimstaden Bostad.
A spokesman for the Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen, FI) confirmed to IPE that it had submitted a report of suspected crime in this regard to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Alecta has commented on its website about the development.
Jan-Olof Jacke, the new chair of the SEK1.2trn (€104bn) occupational pensions giant, said: “We note that the Financial Supervisory Authority reported one or more people to the police.
“We have not taken part in the police report and are now awaiting the process,” said Jacke, who replaced former chair Ingrid Bonde early last month after she quit amid criticism about her role regarding loss-making investments made by the firm.
Two months ago, FI launched an investigation into Alecta’s investment into Heimstaden Bostad, after Alecta’s own board had already hired lawyers to conduct its own probe into whether the investment, made 10 years ago, had followed the rules.
“The law firm Hammarskiöld made the assessment in its investigation that there were deviations from internal rules and that there were indications of violations of the law,” Jacke said today.
The board had taken this ”extremely seriously”, he said, and therefore decided to get a second opinion from another law firm.
“Since there were different assessments of possible violations of the law, and since a police report on insufficient grounds could have negative consequences for both individuals and Alecta’s customers, the board decided not to report to the police, and handed over both investigations to the Financial Supervisory Authority,” Jacke said.
In its own statement on the matter today, property firm Heimstaden – which owns Heimstaden Bostad alongside the largest co-owner Alecta, and other investors – that “based on information at hand”, the issue appeared to involve potential breaches of law, or Alecta’s internal rules, by one or more person “that may also constitute a legal offence”.
“Alecta has engaged two external law firms to review this matter and on the basis thereof, the Board of Alecta concluded not to pursue a case,” said Heimstaden, which is controlled by Norwegian billionaire Ivar Tollefsen.
The real estate firm said the matter did not directly affect Heimstaden Bostad or Heimstaden, nor did it relate to improper conduct by any of those companies or their employees.
In September, and just weeks into the job, Alecta chef executive officer Peder Hasslev said his firm should never have made the Heimstaden Bostad investment, which has been booked at a value of around SEK50bn but which needs fresh capital because of the rising cost of debt.