For Your Eyes Only: Swedish Bond gala criticized
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Were the martinis shaken, not stirred? Nobody knows, but a James Bond-themed party thrown by Sweden's security service sure didn't adhere to this one-liner from "Casino Royale:" ''I will be keeping my eye on our government's money."
Sweden's prime minister has urged the heads of government agencies to control their spending on staff parties after the SAPO security service admitted it held a Bond bash for 4.3 million kronor ($650,000).
The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that SAPO threw the party for its 1,000 employees in June 2011, featuring roulette tables, a tuxedo-clad orchestra playing Bond film music, and song, dance and comedy performances by Swedish artists.
The report, following a string of articles about spending binges at government agencies, exposed SAPO to both ridicule and criticism.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told the paper Wednesday that agency chiefs "are well paid, they should know better."
SAPO said the party capped a day of educational and inspirational activities mean to provide "knowledge, inspiration and solidarity" after a year of organizational changes and a heavy work load.
"In this case, the agency set aside a large amount of money so that our roughly 1,000 employees stationed across Sweden could gather, something that is necessary for us to carry out our mission," SAPO chief Anders Thornberg said in a statement.
Critics said the event was particularly ill-timed since SAPO has been undergoing a reorganization involving budget cuts.
Associated Press reporter Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen contributed to this report.