Svein Ludvigsen refutes sex abuse – confirms relationships with asylum seekers
Former Top in the Conservative Party, Svein Ludvigsen, refutes all charges of sexual abuse and claims that it was nothing criminal in his relationship with three young asylum seekers.
“Svein Ludvigsen will give the court an open and honest explanation of his relationship with those who have accused him. He refutes all charges, and will answer all questions related to his sexual relations,” lawyer Kai Vaag tells NTB.
Vaag is the defender of the highly trusted, former Conservative party-top, Svein Ludvigsen. Ludvigsen is in the North Troms District Court, charged with having sexually abused three young asylum seekers. The prosecution believes that Ludvigsen, while he was County Governor of Troms, actively visited institutions that were subject to his supervision with the intent to approach the victims.
The politician supposedly tricked the young men into believing that he had the power and authority to grant or deprive them of Norwegian citizenship, residence and housing – and exploited this delusion in order to obtain sexual intercourse.
“As I see it, the question is whether he has abused the trust of those who accuse him. It is the pivotal and decisive factor in this case,” Vaag explains.
The main hearing starts in Tromsø on Tuesday and will last for two and a half weeks. The prosecutor has called around 35 witnesses. The defence has reported six witnesses – mainly character witnesses, according to Vaag.
Abuse in the County Hall
Ludvigsen obtained, according to the charge, «various forms of sexual intercourse» regularly between 2011 and 2017 with one of the alleged victims, a now 28-years-old man. The individual events allegedly took place in a number of places – such as at Ludvigsen’s private cabin in Andselv, in his residence at Sommarøy, in the County Hall of Tromsø and at various hotels in Oslo.
“My client dreads the court proceedings and does not fare well. The whole thing is a huge strain on him,” the man’s Support Lawyer, Gunhild Bergan, tells NTB.
She does not want to provide further details or go into what her client has explained to the police, about the relationship with Ludvigsen, but confirms that he does not dispute the fundamentals of the charge.
Ludvigsen was County Governor of Troms for around four years in the period 2011–2017. The felony charge concludes that «he exploited NN’s inferior position, lacking resources and being a very vulnerable young, solitary asylum seeker». The offended were between 17 and 24 years old in the period covered by the charge.
Ludvigsen resigned as the County Governor in 2014 when he retired. The state prosecutor still believes the superiority ratio – Ludvigsen’s position of power over one of the offended – continued even after he left his position.
Ludvigsen handed the citizenship over
The charge includes another two offended, young men. Both were in Norway as asylum seekers when the then County Governor, allegedly, visited them. One of them was a young man who lived at Silsand youth home. The home was subject to the County Governor’s supervision when Ludvigsen gained a relationship of trust with him.
“He dreads it very much but is glad that he doesn’t have to meet in court to bear witness. An adapted interrogation is going to be issued to the court,” his Support Lawyer, Ole Magnus Strømmen, informs.
The then County Governor handed over Norwegian citizenship to the man during a ceremony. He then, allegedly, fooled him into believing that he could later deprive him of it.
“We believe that there is a direct correlation between this superiority relationship and the sexual intercourse,” State Attorney Tor Børge Nordmo told NTB. This, when the decision to prosecute was made public in November last year.
A longish list of witnesses – as well as Ludvigsen’s conversations and meetings with the alleged victim – will be pivotal in the case, according to VG. The case mainly consists of testimonies, pictures, documents, technical evidence and communication between Ludvigsen and the offended. Police witnesses will also meet before the court. They will explain the investigation of the case. Police and support services must also relate the contact with the alleged victims after the criminal case was established.
Facts about Ludvigsen and the case
- Born July 18th, 1946 in Hillesøy in Troms.
- Wife, three children.
- Deputy Leader of the Conservatives in the period 1990-1991.
- Member of Parliament for Troms in the years 1989-2001 and Leader of the Industry Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, 1993-1997.
- Minister of Fisheries, 2001-2005.
- County Governor of Troms 2001 to 2014 (took office in 2005).
- In December 2015, Ludvigsen was reported for sexual assault. The case was closed in April 2016, due to «the state of the evidence».
- In December 2017, Ludvigsen was reported for sexual assault on another person.
- On January 3rd, 2018, Ludvigsen was arrested, charged with exploiting his position to obtain sexual contact with a man. The charge is later extended to apply to three victims, including the dropped case. All three alleged victims came to Norway as asylum seekers.
- On Thursday, January 4th, he was detained for a week. The week after, the imprisonment was extended by four weeks, until February 8. He was then released from detention. He does not acknowledge guilt.
- On Wednesday, November 28th, 2018, the public prosecutor filed charges against Ludvigsen.
- The trial is scheduled before North Troms District Court from 11th to 25th June 2019.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today