Crushing verdict against Svein Ludvigsen

Svein Ludvigsen Couny Governor TromsThe then County Governor of Troms, Svein Ludvigsen summoned the Tromsø 2018 seminar at the SAS hotel on Friday morning. Ringing the bell. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / Scanpix.

Crushing verdict against Svein Ludvigsen – Guilty on all counts

Svein Ludvigsen (72) appeals the sentence to five years in prison. Troms District Court finds that he abused his position to obtain sex with three young, asylum seeking, men.

“The defendant has exploited and deceived resourceless persons in a vulnerable situation, obtaining sexual intercourse by causing them to believe that he had, among other things, the power and authority to influence their right to stay in Norway,” the verdict against Svein Ludvigsen states.

The conclusion is crushing for the previously highly trusted Conservative politician. Ludvigsen dismissed all charges against him categorically, when Judge Harald Tore Roaldsen asked whether he acknowledged any guilt, some three weeks ago.

None of the judges in the case – which went before the North Troms District Court – have expressed any trust in the explanation by the former Cabinet Minister and County Governor. The verdict is crystal clear on the entire indictment.

“There was a marked superiority between the defendant and the offended parties. There is nothing in the relationship between them that can explain the sexual intercourse, not related to the superiority and seduction by the accused,” Roaldsen writes.

Surprised, and disappointed

Ludvigsen is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and to pay redress of a total of NOK 473,000 to the 25-year-old man who is offended in the two main points of the charges. The other two victims are, respectively, awarded NOK 120,000 and 150,000 in redress.

“He reacts with great surprise and disappointment. He will appeal the verdict, both over the question of guilt and the application of the law,” Defence Lawyer for Ludvigsen, Kai Vaag, tells NTB.

Vague is critical to the court’s view that the law’s requirements for abuse of supremacy are fulfiled. He believes that more is needed than having been in a position previously – or being in a position that has no direct relevance to the offended.

State Prosecutor Tor Børge Nordmo is, in turn, satisfied that the court has come to the conclusion that the description of how Ludvigsen abused his position to acquire sexual intercourse, can be used as a basis for the verdict.

“The result seems to be based on thorough assessments of the evidence in the case,” Nordmo tells NTB.

Ludvigsen lied to the police

Ludvigsen admitted having lied in repeated police interrogations regarding his contact with one of the victims in the case. The court emphasises that Ludvigsen, for a year and a half, maintained his police statement before changing it shortly before the trial. The court states that there are sound reasons to doubt his explanation.

Although Ludvigsen acknowledged having sex with the now 25-year-old man, he denied that the sexual intercourse occurred as a result of abusing his position of power towards him. He further claimed that the two only had sexual contact on three occasions – and only after he had resigned as County Governor of Troms.

“This case has been, and still is, demanding for the office, but we have no comment on the verdict. What is important to us in the future, is to look after our employees, and do the job we are supposed to do for the inhabitants of Troms and Finnmark,” County Governor of Troms, Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, comments.

Believes the offended men

All three offended came to Norway as asylum seekers. They were particularly vulnerable for that reason, according to the verdict. The men have explained, apparently completely independently, how the then County Governor approached them, showed interest and care – and that he, subsequently, initiated intimate contact with them.

The victims explained that Ludvigsen had stated that he could help them to stay, reside, and gain citizenship in Norway – and that he had such high-ranking and powerful friends that he could take these perks away – if they did not do what he told them to.

The Troms District Court states that the explanations of the abused support each other – and that the other evidence further strengthens them.

“The explanations appear to be credible,” the verdict concludes.

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