Eirik Jensen, the veteran Oslo police officer now in custody on corruption charges, was caught up in serious conflicts at work just months before his arrest in January. The conflicts were so serious that he’d hired the same lawyer who’s now defending him, Jens-Ove Hagen, to clarify both his turbulent work situation at the time and his compensation level.
Newspaper Dagsavisen reported on Thursday that Jensen’s “unorthodox work methods” had led to ongoing problems with many police colleagues who needed to work with him. After years of enjoying success and relatively free rein working for the former chief of the police district’s organized crime section, Iver Stensrud, Jensen found himself much more hemmed in when Stensrud was succeeded by the man who became Jensen’s new boss, Einar Aas.
“It’s no secret that there was bad chemistry between Aas and my client,” Jensen’s defense attorney Jens-Ove Hansen told Dagsavisen. He said he otherwise couldn’t comment on Jensen’s work history at the Oslo Police District, citing confidentiality clauses.
Dagsavisen reported, however, that many of Jensen’s colleagues didn’t like his methods. They believed he was “too close” to his sources and informants in criminal circles, and claimed that he often didn’t follow Aas’ rules or his own. Jensen ultimately took a “time out,” Dagsavisen wrote, moving over into a “free” position that allowed him to mostly work on fighting gang crime in Oslo.
More conflicts reportedly arose, however, after Aas restructured the Special Operations (SO) section. Jensen expected to return as its chief but Aas gave the top SO job to someone else, ultimately leading to Jensen hiring Hagen to represent his interests last spring.
Now facing four more weeks in jail
In January, Jensen was arrested at work and charged with corruption after defendants in a major narcotics case claimed Jensen had helped them import drugs to Norway in return for payment. Despite the conflicts around him, Jensen was still viewed as a veteran and trusted police officer and his arrest shocked many. Jensen has flatly denied the charges against him.
He was ordered earlier this week to be held in custody for another four weeks while an investigation, carried out by the police internal affairs division, continues. He won’t have to serve in full isolation any longer, though, since investigators think that’s no longer necessary. Jensen, now age 56, still won’t be allowed any communication, visitors or access to media. Tuesday’s custody hearing in the Oslo City Court was once again held behind closed doors.
Hagen, Jensen’s defense attorney, told newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday that he was “disappointed” that his client was ordered held in custody for another four weeks, “but not surprised.”