Sindre Finnes, the errant husband of former Prime Minister Erna Solberg, has admitted that he has used a prestigious Norwegian business title (siviløkonom) that he never earned. His wife has admitted that she knew he never turned in the academic papers needed for the title, but didn’t pursue the matter.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) could once again report this week on the exploits of some of Norway’s most powerful people, and/or their spouses. Finnes has already been in serious trouble for secretly investing in companies while his wife was prime minister, putting her in alleged conflicts of interest. All such business transactions must be disclosed under Norwegian transparency laws.
Now Finnes has been landed in trouble again. Other Norwegian media quickly picked up DN’s story about how Finnes misrepresented himself.
He wrote in an apologetic explanation to DN that he did indeed study at Norway’s leading business school NHH from 1986 to 1989, but admitted he never took the exam to qualify for the title siviløkonom. He also admitted that he, “in some instances, used the title siviløkonom, and that’s hung after me. That was a mistake on my part and I apologize for it.”
“I should have also corrected all the times the title turned up in the press,” Finnes continued, adding that his “correct” title is simply “økonom” (literally, economist). He hastened to add that “I don’t think I have had a significant advantage of this (fraudulently inflating his title), during all the 26 years I’ve had the same employer (a national employers’ organization).”
Even on the government’s website, former Prime Minister Erna Solberg is listed as “married in Paris on the 29th of February 1996 with siviløkonomist Sindre Finnes.” Now Solberg also admits that she knew he never earned the title and that she’d encourage him to do so.
“I have known Sindre since 1986 and we became romantically involved at the same time he studied at NHH,” Solberg told DN. “I have always known he hadn’t delivered the exam as a siviløkonomist student, in part because I encouraged him to do so, but his job and political work ended up taking a lot of our time.”
Her press chief in the Conservative Party, Cato Husabø, added that the government’s own description of Finnes as holding the title was based on an edition of the Norwegian biographical lexicon, and not something Solberg mistakenly wrote herself.
She has now admitted to DN that she “at times” had seen that her husband was referred to as being a siviløkonom, but she just let it go. Since he is an “økonom” and studied at NHH, she “therefore didn’t make more out of it or spent time to try to change it.”