The Daily Bork

February 16, 2005

Move along, nothing to see here.

Well, as expected the PM in Sweden is apparently not guilty of receiving bribes. Why? Apparently if the bribe is plain for all to see then it is not a crime, because everyone knows that bribes are supposed to be discreet. Follow that? I'd have thought it'd be even more important to squash on such blatant acts than on those that were "secret", if only to dissuade public figures from breaking the law to easily.

Perssons doctorate not a bribe
Perssons doktorshatt ingen muta (Göteborgs Posten)

Göran Perssons doctorate was not a bribe or other unearned privilege. Christer ven der Kwast decided today that there would be no investigation of the Prime Minister.

He says that the honorary doctorate which was awarded to Göran Persson is not a crime.

"The awarding of the honorary doctorate is a custom which is traditionally meant to mark appreciation of services of very different kinds and is generally understood as an uncontroverisal social occasion of partially the same sort as congratulations in conjunction with festival days," writes Christer van der Kwast in his decision. He points out that a cabinet minister has "a bounded space" in which to receive gifts and other benefits associated with his job.

"Bribery and unearned payments for services usually happens with great discretion of those involved. That the receiving of an honorary doctorate happened in the open with a ceremony with mass-media coverage is a circumstance which strongly says that the 'payment' can not be seen as unwarranted," writes van der Kwast.

It was the lawyer Claes Beyer, chairman of the Institute Against Bribery, who a week ago in a complaint questioned if the Prime Minister Göran Persson made himself guilty of bribery when he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Örebro university.


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