Stortinget - the Norwegian Parliament. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russian citizen arrested for illegal intelligence-gathering in Norway

The man was detained at Oslo airport Friday evening by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) on suspicion of illegal intelligence-gathering during a seminar at the Norwegian Parliament.
September 23, 2018

The seminar, taking place on Thursday and Friday, was arranged by the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD) and had 79 participants from 34 countries, the newspaper Dagbladet reports. The participants were administrative employees from different European Parliaments.

Dagbladet has been in contact with several of the participants at the conference who thought the man’s behavior during the seminar was suspicious.  

The man is detained for two weeks while further investigation is initiated.

Illegal intelligence-gathering activity targeting state secrets can, according to Norway’s penal code section 121, give a penalty of three years in prison.

Neither the Norwegian Parliament, nor the Police Security Service will detail the man’s activities in the parliament prior to the arrest.

The newspaper VG has interviewed Russian man’s lawyer, Hege Kristine Aakre, who says electronic equipment is seized. She says the man doesn’t understand the reasons for being arrested.

The Russian Embassy in Oslo writes in a Facebook update on Sunday that it views the arrest as far-fetched and absurd. The Embassy provides consular assistance to the arrested Russian citizen.