Business world in two camps

The Paradise Papers leak has stirred up the Swedish business world. Chair of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise Leif Östling is one of those who placed funds in the tax havens of Malta and Luxembourg, and has defended his actions. He says he has paid SEK 84 million in income tax and SEK 23 million in capital gains tax in Sweden, plus SEK 70 million in Germany and claims he is following rules with his funds in Malta and Luxembourg.

Now there are calls from within the business sector for Östling to resign. One source from within the confederation says there is a risk that businesses will leave the organisation. Maria Mattsson Mähl, CEO of Alpha CE and recently nominated to the confederation’s board believes Östling’s comments damage the organisation. “Most members are working hard to pay taxes and make ends meet,” she says.

However among one of the organisation’s heavyweight representatives, support is intact. “He is speaking as a private person, so our confidence in Leif is unchanged,” says Klas Wåhlberg, CEO for the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries.

LO threatens to leave Nordea

Criticism against Nordea is growing after it was revealed that the Nordic region’s largest bank helped customers create mailbox companies in the tax haven Panama.

In Finland the three parliamentary parties decided to cease cooperation with Nordea, followed last week by the Finnish transport union, AKT, and then three days ago the industrial union, Team.

SvD reports that the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) is now considering breaking off with Nordea. According to CFO at LO, Kjell Ahlberg, LO is first waiting to find out whether the bank broke any regulations.