Brightstar plays a key role in the distribution of mobile phones in a number of countries.

In Sweden alone, it has a turnover of 6.5 billion and globally it operates in over 50 countries.

It collaborates with some of the world's most famous mobile manufacturers and leading mobile operators.

But according to the Swedish Tax Agency, they have also had collaborations of a completely different kind.

In a new decision, which SVT has taken note of, the Swedish Tax Agency describes how Brightstar had extensive business with companies that are suspected of being part of a fraud scheme that has been described as one of the largest that has affected Sweden.

It consists of so-called VAT spins with mobile phones, so extensive that the government has already announced changes to the law to stop a feared outflow of tax billions.

Brightstar has traded in mobile phones that originated with the Västerås company Iskana, which SVT visited in 2019 and whose CEO was arrested last year in his absence on suspicion of serious economic crimes.

Rejects the accusations

According to the Swedish Tax Agency, Brightstar has known, or should have known, that it has participated in an advanced VAT fraud.

"The Swedish Tax Agency's investigation shows that you took an active, or at least deliberately passive, part in the fraud / arrangement," it says.

Brightstar is now required to pay just over a quarter of a billion in missing VAT and also a tax surcharge of just over 38 million.

Fraud expert Anders Björkenheim reacts strongly to the Swedish Tax Agency's investigation.

- Brightstar has stood for quality and seriousness.

I do not think there is a single electronics retailer that has not shopped from them.

It is a multinational giant player.

Brightstar does not appear for any interview but rejects the accusations and writes to SVT that they will appeal the Tax Agency's decision.

Anders Björkenheim believes that it can be problematic for Brightstar to be drawn into a tangle where companies are suspected of both serious tax offenses and money laundering.

- We know that US authorities have tougher sanction options.

This is devastating for Brightstar's brand, and it will be exciting to follow how it develops internationally.