NAV scandal: Jailed man hopes he will be vindicated

NAV Social security fraud, NAV Rule labour marketNAV.Photo: Norway Today Media
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A man from Vestfold tells VG that he hopes he is among those who will be vindicated because of the scandal involving the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). In 2016, he was jailed for over two months’ for social security fraud.

The man spent 75 days in jail after being paid work assessment allowance from NAV while staying in Spain for periods. He could now be vindicated after he had repaid well over 300,000 kroner to NAV over a year ago, writes VG.

“I sat in jail for two months. It was traumatic for a man over 60,” the man told the newspaper.

The man hopes he is one of the at least 48 people wrongly convicted of social security fraud. Of the 48, 36 were jailed with the longest sentence being eight months. 
A total of 2,400 cases have been incorrectly assessed because NAV wrongly interpreted the EU’s new social security rules that became part of Norwegian law in 2012.

Unreserved confession
VG did not confirm if the Vestfold man was one of those affected by the scandal but two lawyers have reviewed his case on the request of the newspaper and said he may be among those who could be cleared.

The Vestfold man confessed unreservedly in a court hearing. The verdict against the man states that he “acted grossly negligent and with intent to gain”. He claimed he confessed because the police recommended he did so, adding he did not have a lawyer present then because he had no money to engage one. He now intends to claim compensation for the restitution he made and the time he spent in prison.

May be entitled to compensation
The victims of the NAV scandal received sickness benefit, work assessment allowance and care benefit while living in Norway but staying temporarily in other European countries.

The Norwegian Criminal Cases Review Commission will now review the cases to clear those who are have been wrongly convicted.
At a press conference on Monday, Attorney General Tor-Aksel Busch said that there could be grounds for compensation. NAV also stated that those affected by the misinterpretation of the regulations may be entitled to compensation.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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