Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Norwegian police arrests citizen suspected of selling state secrets to Russia

An employee of DNV GL was Saturday arrested when he met with a Russian intelligence agent, according to the Norwegian Security Police (PST).
August 17, 2020

The arrest happened at a restaurant in Oslo.

“We have detained a man his 50s, suspected of sharing information with a Russian intelligence officer. We consider this to damage fundamental Norwegian interests,” said police attorney Line Nygaard to NRK.

Oslo city court on Monday ruled a 4 weeks custody sentence, as PST continues the investigation.

The arrested man did not plead guilty, said lawyer Marianne Darre-Næss in an interview with VG. She added the man is willing to explain and answer questions the police might have for him.

He has received money for information, according to the ruling by the city court.

The alleged Russian agent had a diplomatic passport, and with that, immunity. PST did not elaborate further about the person meeting the Norwegian citizen in the restaurant.

Police attorney Nygaard told media after the court hearing the suspected has been in contact with a Russian agent over a longer period.

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The arrested man is an employee of DNV GL, an Oslo-headquartered international company well known for being a world leader in risk management and quality assurance.

According to the court ruling, he had access to sensitive secret information from his work.

VP Director of Media Relations with DNV GL Group, Per Wiggo Richardson, confirmed to VG the man being an employee with the company, but Richardson would not elaborate.

VG’s information, though, claims the man to be working in a position putting him in contact with Norwegian defense industry and research in the sphere of advanced military technology.

The Barents Observer has previously reported about PST’s warnings on Russian espionage being the main threat, saying Russian agents target Norwegian individuals in attempts to access secret information.

Moscow’s Oslo Embassy at the time called the accusations a “witch hunt” aimed at scaring the Norwegian people. The Embassy has not yet commented on the recent arrest and accusations.

This is the first time a Norwegian citizen is accused of selling state secrets to Russia since Arne Treholt was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to 20 years in prison the following year. Treholt was at the time an official with the Foreign Ministry in Oslo. 

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