Five men sentenced to prison in one of Oslo Municipality’s biggest corruption case to date

Oslo - smoke - pollutionPhoto: Torstein Bøe / NTB

Five men have been convicted in the corruption case in Oslo Municipality’s real estate company Boligbygg. The case includes apartment purchases valued at NOK 1.4 billion.

Prison sentences vary from three and a half years to half a year, the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv writes. 

Apartment buildings and apartments were resold to the municipal company Boligbygg with millions in profit. Four of the men have been convicted of corruption, while the fifth has been convicted of money laundering the proceeds from corruption, Økokrim stated in a press release.

“Corruption is destructive to people’s trust in a well-functioning public sector, which in turn is a prerequisite for a stable democracy,” the verdict from Oslo District Court states. The verdict is close to 100 pages long.

The case is considered one of Oslo Municipality’s biggest corruption cases ever. All five men have pleaded not guilty.

Large resources used in the investigation

The verdict shows the seriousness of corruption in public activities, Attorney General Håvard Kampen in Økokrim stated.

“We will give high priority to further investigating corruption, especially in the public sector. The verdict also shows that it is important that we have used resources to investigate the case,” Kampen told DN.

One of the men’s defenders, lawyer Trond Aansløkken, says that they will appeal the verdict. 

Three of the men are sentenced to pay legal costs of NOK 120,000 each. In addition, two of the men must withstand a confiscation of close to NOK 3 million.

Exploited a vulnerable situation

Boligbygg ordered an investigation of the case after DN’s series of articles in the autumn of 2017. The purchase of around 500 apartments for a total of NOK 1.4 billion was followed up by investigators from the auditing firm Deloitte.

The investigators concluded one year later that the Municipality had overpaid between NOK 80 and 115 million for the properties.

“The accused have exploited a vulnerable situation in the Municipality, where there was talk of managing large sums over a short period of time. There was relatively much leeway for those who wanted to take advantage of the situation,” police lawyer Marthe Smestad in Økokrim said in court.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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