Swedish spy chiefs under fire for lavish £400,000 James Bond party


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The Independent Online

The Swedish secret service has come under fire for lavishing more than £400,000 on a James Bond-themed staff party.

The prime minister has urged the heads of government agencies to control their spending after SAPO owned up to the bash.

It held 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 said agency chiefs "are well paid, they should know better."

SAPO said the party capped a day of educational activities meant to provide "knowledge, inspiration and solidarity" after a year of organisational 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.

Critics said the event was particularly ill-timed since SAPO has been undergoing a reorganisation involving budget cuts.