Three prosecutors, 26 defense attorneys and 13 defendants finally assembled in an Oslo courtroom this week, as the so-called “Lime case” got underway. It’s likely to go on for at leave five months, as the court hears arguments regarding 205 criminal charges.
The case dates back to the fall of 2014, when police and investigators from a host of public agencies raided Lime grocery stores and the homes and offices of those running them. The family controlling the chain of Lime stores is charged with human trafficking, alleged mafia operations, serious economic crimes and welfare cheating.
The family members and associates charged all denied guilt with the exception of Lime boss Sajjad Hussain admitting to violation of tax law and one of his former assistants partially admitting to fraud and tax evasion.
The Hussain family is accused of bringing people from Pakistan to Norway and forcing them to work in their Lime stores, for little or no pay. The other charges as well mean the case may extend through the summer even though it’s now scheduled to conclude by July 1. A decision is due in the autumn.