The owner and manager of a popular waterfront hotel in Selje, near Norway’s West Cape, has been convicted and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison, for setting the hotel on fire. The arson was found to be part of an attempted insurance scam.
The fire that broke out in November of last year destroyed the Selje Hotel, which had been built up for decades by its former owners, Harald and Gerd-Kjellaug Berge. It was a cornerstone of the community, and often hosted weddings, other special events and, not least, tourists visiting the West Cape and the ruins of a cloister on a nearby island.
The local court in the county of Sogn og Fjordane determined that the hotel director acted alone when he set the fire, but that he had cooperated in an economic fraud with the former chairman of the hotel’s board, who was sentenced to a year in prison. The hotel’s chef was acquitted.
All three men are Swedish-Turkish brothers who had been indicted for aggravated vandalism, attempted insurance fraud and economic fraud. The owner of the hotel who had bought the property from the Berges had admitted to setting the property ablaze.