Convicted executive faces two years in prison

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The former Norwegian chairman and chief executive officer of the world’s northernmost mining company, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani, has been sentenced to two years in prison for his role in a bribery scandal at the Svalbard firm.

Robert Hermansen, age 72, also faces huge debt after being ordered to repay nearly NOK 4 million in what the court in Nord-Troms viewed as bribes from the Bergen-based shipping company Kristian Jebsens Rederi. Jebsens enjoyed long-term, expensive contracts to ship ore from the mines that were tied to the payments to Hermansen.

Hermansen, who had enjoyed a long career as a businessman before the bribery charges were filed, had confessed to receiving the money from Jebsens but told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that he thought his sentence was much too strict. He was considering an appeal but said he didn’t fear going to jail.

“I’ve never been in prison before, it will be a new experience,” he told DN. “Most experiences are worth something.”

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