'Mafia' moves into Norwegian asphalting business / News / The Foreigner

'Mafia' moves into Norwegian asphalting business. A former road asphalting company director has admitted swindling the Norwegian state for millions of kroner in contracts. The price-fixing racket involving two of the largest companies in Norway, NCC Roads and Kolo Veidekke, took place over a 13-year period. By cooperating on governmental tenders for mid-Norway, both concerns were able to close out the competition, subsequently keeping prices artificially high, according to NRK.

nccroads, koloveidekke, odinkringen, asphaltingfraud, roadsurfacing, price-fixing, norwegiancompetitionauthority, eirikstolt-nielsen, mafia, persandberg, progressparty, frp



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'Mafia' moves into Norwegian asphalting business

Published on Wednesday, 26th January, 2011 at 13:29 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 21st October 2011 at 05:19.

A former road asphalting company director has admitted swindling the Norwegian state for millions of kroner in contracts.

Asphalting (illustration photo)
Asphalting (illustration photo)
Photo: Seth Russell/Picasaweb


The price-fixing racket involving two of the largest companies in Norway, NCC Roads and Kolo Veidekke, took place over a 13-year period.

By cooperating on governmental tenders for mid-Norway, both concerns were able to close out the competition, subsequently keeping prices artificially high, according to NRK.

“We gave the impression we were competing, but actually sat together in the same room. We then divided the market and settled up between us,” says former Kolo Veidekke director, Odin Kringen.

Evidence of possible fraud was discovered on computers belonging to both companies, as well as Mr Kringen, after last years’ coordinated raids by the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) under police escort.

“We are still working on going through the digital material, and have conducted interviews in several towns in Norway,” Eirik Stolt-Nielsen, the NCA’s Director of Investigations, tells The Foreigner.

He confirms the authority has screened most of the evidence, but will not reveal any further details until its enquiries are concluded. What will happen still remains unclear.

“Norway’s two-track system means we can conduct an autonomous investigation and issue a fine. Should the case prove to be severe enough, we would hand it over to the Public Prosecutor to decide whether or not to press charges,” he says.

Per Sandberg MP, the Progress Party’s (FrP) former head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport and Communications, likens the affair to a cartel operation.

“It reminded me of a mafia business to begin with,” he tells NRK.

The scandal led to Odin Kringen’s dismissal. He expresses regret at what happened, alleging Kolo Veidekke is also to blame.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise that I have helped ensure people were duped in this manner, [however,] I was acting on orders from my superiors. I am prepared to take my share of the punishment, but Kolo Veidekke must also be willing to accept its part of the penalty,” he says.

NRK alleges NCC’s former head also admitted to committing an offence in a phone conversation between the two.



Published on Wednesday, 26th January, 2011 at 13:29 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 21st October 2011 at 05:19.

This post has the following tags: nccroads, koloveidekke, odinkringen, asphaltingfraud, roadsurfacing, price-fixing, norwegiancompetitionauthority, eirikstolt-nielsen, mafia, persandberg, progressparty, frp.





  
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