Police in Oslo are investigating what they believe was an assassination attempt on a 32-year-old man known as a key figure in the capital’s criminal underworld. Police link the shooting Sunday night to his role as a “central player in criminal circles in Oslo,” but the victim isn’t talking.
He was shot several times at close range but was wearing a bullet-proof vest, according to police. He remained in a coma on Monday at Ullevål University Hospital, with his hospital room under police guard.
Hanne Kristin Rohde of the Oslo Police District told reporters on Monday that the 32-year-old’s condition was no longer life-threatening. He was shot in the breast, the groin and the legs, and witnesses have reported seeing another man run from the scene and disappear in a grey delivery vehicle.
Pre-meditated assassination attempt
The shooting occurred in a parking area near the Jordal football field on Oslo’s east side. Police say the man drove his own car, a white Mercedes, to the scene and was shot outside the vehicle. Police think he had agreed to meet someone and thus was lured to the scene.
“The victim is a multi-criminal and central actor in the heavily criminal milieu in Oslo,” Rohde said. “We don’t think what happened was based on coincidences … but that the shooting was planned.”
The victim is known in criminal circles as “Uncle Scrooge” because of his alleged stinginess and his role as a tough negotiator. Several media reported that he’s often been called the “finance minister” for convicted robber David Toska, who’s now serving a lengthy prison term for his role in the commando-style robbery of the NOKAS currency depot in Stavanger in 2004, during which a police officer was shot and killed.
Involved in stolen Munch paintings
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that the 32-year-old allegedly invested some of the proceeds from the robbery, the largest ever in Norway at the time, in narcotics and he also negotiated a settlement that led to the recovery of the famed Edvard Munch paintings “The Scream” and “Madonna.” They were stolen at gunpoint from Oslo’s Munch Museum four months after the NOKAS robbery, in an effort to sidetrack police from their NOKAS robbery investigation.
Police had no motive for Sunday’s night’s shooting but believe the assailant meant to kill the 32-year-old. A massive manhunt has been launched, but the victim wasn’t helping investigators find his hit man. “He has signaled that he won’t help the police clear up the case,” Rohde told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).