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Saab - Defence and Security

Saab recruiting from the government

Published lördag 7 april 2012 kl 10.52
A SAAB JAS Gripen airplane that was part of a NATO unit enforcing the no-fly zone of Libya last year. Photo: Lars Pehrson/Scanpix

Several senior political officials working in government cabinet positions have gone to work for the defense company Saab, reports tabloid Aftonbladet. One undersecretary at the Defense Department left that job to go directly to work for Saab.

"Remarkable," says Åsa Romson, chairperson for the Green Party. "It means he can take with him information that's valuable for Saab and they award him for that. You get the suspicion that the bond here was very tight."

Jonas Hjelm was the undersecretary for Leni Björklund, the Social Democratic Minister of Defense in 2005, the year Sweden signed a military agreement with Saudi Arabia. That agreement allowed Saab to win an order for a radar system worth over one billion dollars.

Hjelm left the government to work for Saab in 2006. He tells Aftonbladet that the job was "no reward".

"This can hurt trust for the work he did as undersecretary of the Defense Department," says Clas Sandgren, the head of the Institute for Bribery, who doesn't think officials in the Defense Department should leave their jobs to go directly to work for companies in the defense industry.

The former Social Democratic government minister Jan Nygren, who also worked for Saab, says to erase any doubts about inappropriate behavior, that there should be a waiting period for politicians and officials who go to the private sector.

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