Norwegian state cleared of wrongdoing in Russia spy case

Oslo: An Oslo court on Tuesday acquitted the Norwegian state, which had been sued by a concrete producer for financial losses due to the country’s intelligence agencies’ clumsy approach to recruiting informants.

Olen Betong had accused the Norwegian internal (PST) and external (E-tjenesten) intelligence services of contacting two employees working in Russia’s Murmansk region in 2010 to turn them into informants.

The company, which has business interests in Russia’s north-west, said the intelligence services had made repeated indiscreet contact over the last decade, which was noticed by Russian government agencies.

Olen Betong claimed this led to the loss of an important contract in Russia and legal trouble for company founder Atle Berge and employee Kurt Sto.

The pair were arrested and interrogated in Murmansk before being declared persona non grata in Russia for ten years.

Olen Betong had sought 140 million Norwegian kroner ($15 million or 13.9 million euros) in damages from the state. - AFP