Norway’s welfare authority reports suspected corona fraud worth a total of 27 million kroner

Hans Christian HoltePhoto: Lise Åserud / NTB
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The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) has reported 24 cases worth a total of NOK 27 million on suspicion of corona-support fraud.

Furthermore, the Tax Administration has rejected applications for NOK 1.6 billion.

In July, NAV director Hans-Christian Holte said that NAV likely identified several fraud attempts in connection with the coronavirus wage compensation scheme.

“24 cases worth a total sum of NOK 27 million have been reported to the police, and payment of NOK 11 million has been stopped. We are still carrying out control work related to the scheme,” he told news bureau NTB.

The tax authorities state that they have rejected 18,000 applications for corona support worth NOK 1.6 billion.

“No extensive abuse of support”

A total of 10,500 of these cases have been selected for further manual processing and control.

“This may be about attempted fraud, but it may also be about having misunderstood the criteria for the scheme,” acting tax director Eve Vangsnes Bergli told NTB.

“So far, there is nothing to indicate extensive abuse of the compensation scheme in the business community,” Bergli added.

In total, the Tax Administration received 90,000 applications for the compensation scheme for business and industry.

A total of 70,600 applications have been approved.

New opportunities for criminals

On Friday, the Tax Administration, NAV, and several other agencies involved in the work to prevent work-related crime met with Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (H), Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner (H), and Minister of Justice Monica Mæland (H).

Fraud attempts within the coronavirus support schemes were discussed during the meeting.

“The schemes have provided new opportunities for criminal actors to try and exploit the system,” Torbjørn Røe Isaksen said.

“The measures have been absolutely necessary to create security for the companies in an extreme situation. These schemes have been absolutely necessary and have helped save companies. We would do the same thing again,” Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner told FriFagbevegelse.

Under pressure

Torbjørn Røe Isaksen pointed out that the schemes were new and that they were built up very quickly.

“It is no secret that we would do things in a slightly different way if we land in such a situation again – that’s a clear lesson,” Isaksen said, adding that a lot of work was done in a very short time.

He emphasized one experience in particular: transparency related to the schemes – in terms of who applied and how much funding they received – has been an important contribution to preventing crime.

Minister of Justice Monica Mæland emphasized that scheme-related fraud was a high priority for the police.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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