As Norway’s state-controlled oil firm Statoil wraps up another challenging year, it also faces a new state probe into possible corruption involving a high-ranking employee. Both he and the leader of a company doing business with Statoil, Norsk Helikopterservice, were arrested and charged last week.
Newspapern Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that the charges were filed by state prosecutors after Statoil had launched its own internal investigation earlier this autumn. The company’s internal warning systems had signalled suspicious activity, police were contacted and after new information emerged, the two men were charged.
The Statoil employee involved has also been suspended from his job. DN reported that the case is tied to Norsk Helikopterservice’s two contracts with Statoil regarding search and rescue operations last years. The Statoil employee had influence over who would win the contract and they allegedly were granted after the Statoil boss received help to get his son enrolled at a pilot’s school in Canada owned by the Norsk Helikopterservice’s owner.
Neither of the two men charged would comment. Their defense attorneys deny their clients engaged in corruption and expected the case to be dropped. A Statoil spokesman stressed that no conclusions had been drawn, but said Statoil had cancelled its agreement to do business with Norsk Helikopterservice pending the results of the investigation.