A 49-year-old Norwegian man who escaped from an Oslo prison in 2008 was back behind bars this week, after finally being arrested in Malaysia late last month. Police call him a “serial fraudster” who faces nearly 200 claims of economic crime and theft totaling around NOK 10 million.
He has changed his name and appearance over the years but was charged in an Oslo court this week as Helge Moan, and ordered into custody for at least four weeks while police continue to investigate the charges against him.
Oslo police had issued an international warrant for his arrest after his prison escape, and he was ultimately arrested by police in Malaysia on January 22, after 11 years on the run. TV2 reported that Norwegian police traveled to Malaysia to escort Moan back to Norway this week after his extradition was formalized.
Moan, formerly known as Lars Rune Solberg, has been convicted several times for economic crimes. Police charged him again in 2017 for several cases of identity theft, falsification of documents, serious fraud and receiving stolen property. State broadcaster NRK reported that he was charged in January with nearly 40 new cases of fraud and identity theft committed against at least 100 plaintiffs.
His defense attorney, Per Zimmer, argued for immediate release on the grounds he was not extradited legally because he was denied an attempt to have his case heard in a Malaysian court. When the Norwegian judge ordered him held in custody, he appealed immediately.