Odd Nerdrum, the Norwegian figurative artist who got into serious tax trouble with the state, is reportedly seeking an official pardon from the Justice Ministry. He was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to jail, but apparently feels he cannot serve his sentence for health reasons.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Nerdrum, now age 71, has been in and out of court over the past several years and was convicted of having sold art for nearly NOK 14 million without declaring it as income. After several court rounds, which included the Supreme Court sending the case back to the appeals court level, Nerdrum was sentenced to a year in prison plus an eight-month suspended sentence in 2014. His tax evasion was described by the court as serious because of the large amount of money involved and because it was carried out in a “manner that made it difficult to uncover.”
State officials won’t comment on Nerdrum’s alleged application for a pardon, but DN reported that it is likely based on his “chronic” illness as described in court documents. The appeals court panel discussed whether Nerdrum’s sentence should be reduced because he suffers from Tourettes Syndrome and a “considerable” amount of anxiety.
Court documents related to his case revealed there were conflicting views on the effects of his illness. It was decided that his ability to serve his sentence and the conditions under which he would serve “must, in line with legal precedent, be evaluated by the prison authorities,” the court ruled. “Nerdrum has a chronic mental illness, which after the majority’s view will make serving a prison term much tougher for him than for others…” the court wrote.
Nerdrum’s attorney John Christian Elden couldn’t answer DN‘s questions about the artist’s application for a pardon, and his wife who often speaks for him did not respond to DN‘s request for eomment.
DN reported that Nerdrum delivered an application for pardon to the government a few months ago but still hasn’t received an answer. The pardon process is always secret, with those involved in it sworn to silence. It involves the convict sending an application for pardon to the police district where he or she was convicted. Prosecutors then send the application with their comments to the Justice Ministry, which can either reject or approve the application. If it’s approved, the pardon is formally approved by the Norwegian monarch in a session of the Council of State.