Sweden: Seemly Success

Within the black granite walls of the Stockholms Enskilda Bank is a coat of arms that bears a sober motto, borrowed from Aeschylus: Esse non Videri — to be, not to seem. In line with this injunction, the family that runs the bank has become the most powerful and wealthiest in Sweden, without seeming to be the fiscal princes they are.

The Wallenbergs either control outright—or persuasively advise—no fewer than 50 Swedish companies, or more than half of Sweden's industry. Directly under Wallenberg management are most of Sweden's international companies, including plane-and...

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