Bjarne Håkon Hanssen: In quarantine or House party? / News / The Foreigner

Bjarne Håkon Hanssen: In quarantine or House party?. Flat in same building as PR firm a possible minefield. The Bjarne Håkon Hanssen affair is still alive and well, quite literally. Reports of his alleged failure to inform the quarantine committee of his job change, moving to a flat in the same building as his future employer, and disclosure of an extra-marital with the former Assistant Director General at the Ministry of Health made the weekend’s editions. Share and share alike Hanssen’s decision to become a partner in the PR firm First House as former Minister of Health was Tuesday’s hot potato, Sunday’s admission by Hanssen himself of an affair no doubt made the potato piquant, and yesterday’s suggestion in Dagsavisen that he should fry in his own fat roasted it to a crisp.

bjarne, haakon, hanssen, first, house, affair, interests, conflict



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



News Article

LATEST:

}

Bjarne Håkon Hanssen: In quarantine or House party?

Published on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2009 at 00:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 3rd November 2009 at 10:38.

Flat in same building as PR firm a possible minefield.

Bjarne Håkon Hanssen
Bjarne Håkon Hanssen
Photo: Chris Nyborg/Wikimedia Commons


The Bjarne Håkon Hanssen affair is still alive and well, quite literally. Reports of his alleged failure to inform the quarantine committee of his job change, moving to a flat in the same building as his future employer, and disclosure of an extra-marital with the former Assistant Director General at the Ministry of Health made the weekend’s editions.

Share and share alike

Hanssen’s decision to become a partner in the PR firm First House as former Minister of Health was Tuesday’s hot potato, Sunday’s admission by Hanssen himself of an affair no doubt made the potato piquant, and yesterday’s suggestion in Dagsavisen that he should fry in his own fat roasted it to a crisp.

In another development, both Hanssen and the firm he is partner in – the First House PR Company – “happen” to be located in the same building in a street named Inkognitogata in Oslo; an unfortunate choice of name considering all the recent publicity about Hanssen and his career change – not to mention his affair.

Bjørn Richard Johansen – chairman of the board at First House – tells Aftenposten that the apartment is for the use of their employees that commute and need it.

A stumbling block

It is here that things become unclear. It depends which side of the kitchen table you are sitting on.

Hanssen, has moved away from his wife and into the apartment, telling VG that he had to find somewhere to live at short notice because of his personal circumstances, and had no other choice at the time.

He may also face a temporary disqualification period before assuming his new job. By living there, he could be breaking rules that forbid any contact between a politician and his/her new employer or anyone else in the company until the end of the period; rules that are designed to prevent any possible conflict of interests.

“Having the use of an apartment such as this confirms and strengthens Hanssen’s connection to First House,” Professor of Law at the University of Oslo, Eivind Smith, tells Aftenposten.

But Jens Stoltenberg’s former advisor, Jan Erik Larsen – who is also to join the company – doesn’t see this as being a problem, as he says the apartment has nothing to do with Hanssen’s job, and that both First House and Hanssen are renting from the building’s owner, according to Dagbladet.

Hanssen himself tells VG that he believes he’s in the clear, even if he were to given a period of quarantine.

“Temporary disqualification doesn’t mean that I can’t either contact, or have a dialogue with the company I’m going to start working at, after all. But I’m not allowed to pass on what I know to benefit either myself or the company financially during the quarantine period”.

When asked if he thought the apartment issue might be a problem for him or First House, he answered that it has its own, separate entrance to the one used by the company.

“I underline that I don’t rent the apartment from First House, but from the building’s owner,” Hanssen says.

He will be sharing both a kitchen and bathroom with any future tenants, however.

Start date

And amidst adjectives such as “blunder”, “immoral”, and “corrupt” it was revealed that Hanssen has also failed to inform the quarantine committee of his job move three weeks before starting it as he should have done. But again, whether he is or isn't in his new job now is also a matter of opinion.

Hanssen tells VG that he’s not due to start until the middle of January – depending on whether or not he receives a period of disqualification – saying that this is why he hasn’t informed the committee yet.

However, Dagens Næringsliv (DN) quotes a press release issued by First House themselves listing him as a current advisor.

If this is true, the apartment could once again cause all involved to stir in their beds, with the possibility of Hanssen being fined.

“It will also contribute to establishing when an association with the actual firm began,” according to Smith.

But whatever the outcome, the former minister – in what could be seen as an upright fit of self-flagellation – tells VG that he welcomes any disqualification period, NRK that any decision to impose one would be the right thing to do, and DN that he’s glad there are such rules in place.

The Hanssen affair will certainly be one to remember.




Published on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2009 at 00:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 3rd November 2009 at 10:38.

This post has the following tags: bjarne, haakon, hanssen, first, house, affair, interests, conflict.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!