Sweden’s financial watchdog has asked police to investigate whether one or more people were guilty of corruption linked to pension fund Alecta’s investment in property group Heimstaden Bostad, Alecta said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) has for some time questioned Alecta over its purchase of a 38% stake in Heimstaden Bostad.
In September the FSA launched an investigation into whether the pension fund provider complied with rules and regulations when it invested 50 billion Swedish crowns ($4.74 billion) in the property company.
“We note that the Financial Supervisory Authority has reported one or more persons to the police. We have not received the police report and are now awaiting the process,” Alecta said.
The FSA confirmed it had contacted investigators. “We have been in contact with the prosecutor and handed in a complaint,” said an FSA spokesperson, who declined to give further information.
Alecta said the external law firm Hammarskiold had made the assessment that there had been deviations from internal rules and that there were indications of violations of the law.
Sweden’s anti-corruption unit at the public prosecutor’s office confirmed it had received a report from the FSA, known in Sweden as FI.
“We can confirm that we have received a report from FI regarding suspected crimes in connection with Alecta. We cannot give more information at this stage,” it said in an email to Reuters.
Heimstaden Bostad’s parent company Heimstaden said the matter did not directly affect either group.
“We are taking the situation seriously and will assist relevant authorities upon their request,” Heimstaden said.
Heimstaden Bostad has been under pressure in recent months as it struggles with large debts, rising interest rates and a wilting wider economy. Heimstaden has said it plans to divest parts of its housing portfolio to cut its debt.
Danske Bank credit analyst Louis Landeman said its base case was still that Heimstaden’s owners would reach an agreement to support the company with additional capital.
“But of course, if some findings come out during this investigation that would indicate any type of wrongdoings by Alecta or anyone else then that would be something that could complicate and delay this process,” Landeman said.
($1 = 10.5575 Swedish crowns)
Source : Reuters