An admitted extortionist has been arrested and charged with making threats against Norwegian industrialist Kjell Inge Røkke. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Tuesday night that Røkke had filed several complaints about “uncomfortable” incidents to the police.
The man arrested, who has a history of convictions, reportedly confronted Røkke in his garage and on at least once occasion blocked his car with his own. Other threats allegedly were made via email, on the telephone and through text messages.
“This has been a difficult time for Røkke and his family,” Røkke’s lawyer, John Christian Elden, told NRK. “The background is the threat situation, without me being able to comment more on that.”
The man arrested, identified as Jan Erik “Jannik” Iversen, reportedly has demanded a large amount of money from Røkke, because he believes Røkke had tarnished his name and reputation. Demands for money were reportedly made over a period of several months and the pressure on Røkke increased in recent weeks.
Iversen’s defense attorney, Benedict de Vibe, confirmed that Iversen had been arrested and faced a custody hearing on Wednesday. “He denies guilt,” deVibe told NRK. “He hasn’t undergone questioning yet, but he’s willing to talk to police.”
Røkke, who made his first fortune in the fishing industry and now controls the Aker industrial firms, ranked 10th on magazine Kapital’s list of Norway’s 400 wealthiest residents, with a fortune estimated at NOK 20.4 billion. He’s long been a controversial tycoon, known for flashy cars, boats, homes and vacation homes, and has recently seen his stake in Aker rise along with the increase in oil prices. Røkke also got involved in the recent drama over forestry firm Norske Skog, and is keen to buy up the bankrupt firm’s assets.