Court acquits spy agencies

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The Oslo County Court  has acquitted the state on charges that allegedly clumsy recruiting efforts by military and domestic intelligence agencies spoiled a Norwegian company’s efforts to do business in Russia. 

The company, Ølen Betong, claimed compensation of around NOK 140 million after its owner and a key employee were arrested and harassed by Russian officials in Murmansk. Ølen’s chairman Atle Berge was also banned from Russia, meaning that the company lost a major contract.

The court, however, not only acquitted both Norway’s defense-related intelligence agency E-tjenesten and domestic police intelligence PST but also ordered Ølen Betong to pay NOK 551,000 in court costs. It ruled that neither agency had operated improperly in contacting employees of the Rogaland-based firm.

Berge told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that he expected to appeal the ruling handed down on Tuesday. staff