Tor Holba, the former executive acquitted of fraud at Norwegian fertilizer and chemical company Yara, has won NOK 35 million (USD 4.1 million) in compensation from the state. It’s the largest amount of compensation ever paid out following an acquittal, reports website Rett24.no.
Holba was charged along with three other Yara executives with corruption linked to Yara’s operations in Libya, India and Russia. Yara itself acknowledged bribes amounting to more than NOK 70 million and agreed to pay a fine of NOK 295 million in 2014.
Its executives including Holba, Torleif Enger and Daniel Clauw fought the charges against them, and were later acquitted by an appeals court after first being found guilty by the Oslo County Court. Only fellow executive Ken Wallace was ultimately convicted of corruption and sentenced to seven years in prison. Wallace’s appeal to Norway’s highest court was rejected.
Holba, age 62, had earlier won compensation of NOK 14 million but then sought more to cover lost income, bonus and pension payments. Interest and lawyers’ fees brought the total to more than NOK 35 million, a sum Holba’s lawyer called “correct and reasonable” in a case of undue prosecution.
“He lost his job, he lost his work, reputation and income,” lawyer Nadia Christina Hall told state broadcaster NRK, noting that the Yara corruption case had “enormous consequences” for those involved. The other Yara executives have also sought compensation, but Holba was the only one still working at the company when Norway’s economic crime unit Økokrim brought charges in the case.