Reacting to the rapid responses in the Huitfeldt case – NRK Norway – Overview of news from different regions of the country

This afternoon the message came that Økokrim will announce on Thursday or Friday whether an investigation will be opened against Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Ap).

But from the day the affair broke out, on August 30, Økokrim declared the following:

“(…) So far, there has been no information allowing Økokrim to assess issues related to insider trading.»

Earlier in the day, the head of Ecocrime, Pål Kulø Lønseth, declared himself incompetent.

– It was a little fast in the turns

Lawyer Erling Grimstad, who was previously both director and deputy director of Økokrim, reacts to his former employer’s proceedings.

What surprises me is that they made a decision so quickly that they should not open an investigation into this matter, Grimstad told NRK.

Erling Grimstad, who served as both head and deputy head of Økokrim, reacts to Økokrim’s handling of the Huitfeldt case.

Photo: Eva Marie Bulai / NRK

He points out that such demanding processes normally take a little longer and explains that it often takes several weeks before the assessment is completed.

– I In this case, I think some might perceive this as a rushed job. It went a little fast in the turns.

– The Attorney General should review the case

Grimstad also points out the coincidence between the same day the case broke, Ecocrime declared that there had been no internal discussions about the case and the fact that the head of Ecocrime declared himself incompetent.

-NOTif the head of Økokrim declares himself incompetent and the decision is nonetheless made not to open an investigation, the process may seem a little complicated and create the unfortunate impression that there may be other reasons for the decision has been taken, he says.

Pål Lønseth, head of Økokrim

Ecocrime chief Pål Kulø Lønseth declared himself incompetent due to the Labor Party’s close cooperation with Anniken Huitfeldt.

Photo: Tore Linvollen

Last week, NRK asked the Attorney General why he did not think the entire Økokrim was incompetent in this matter, while Supreme Leader Pål Kulø Lønseth was. The reason why Lønseth declared himself incompetent is that the former Labor Party leader worked closely with Huitfeldt in several cases, most recently in 2018.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General responded that even though Lønseth declared himself incompetent, that does not make the deputy chief incompetent. It is now the deputy head of Økokrim Inger Svae-Grotli who will take care of a possible investigation into the Huitfeldt affair.

Grimstad believes this is an unusual manipulation.

It is not usual for an assistant manager to assess the manager’s incompetence. Then this decision is moved up a notch. That is to say the attorney general in this case. It’s usual.

Trust in the police

Last week it became known that the husband of Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Ap) had bought shares in, among others, Kongsberg Gruppen and salmon companies while she was minister.

Huitfeldt herself came forward and apologized for not familiarizing herself with her husband’s stock trading when she was a minister.

Grimstad believes that the handling of the case by the Attorney General and Økokrim may weaken confidence in the prosecution.

– This can create distrust of the police and this is very unfortunate, especially when it comes to key people in our society who enjoy a high degree of trust. It is then extremely important that you carry out an efficient, thorough and orderly procedure before making this type of decision regarding whether or not to open an investigation, Grimstad tells NRK.

Rocky Maldonado

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