Norway PM’s spouse declines shares investment transparency / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Norway PM’s spouse declines shares investment transparency. Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s husband Sindre Finnes is not legally obliged to disclose which stocks he has invested in, according to him. Anti-corruption experts express concern. The matter came up in connection with NRK's article, Thursday, on which shares MPs and Ministers have in which companies and organisations.        The Norwegian broadcaster also reported that Mr Finnes declared information about his holdings to the relevant authorities, including the Office of the Prime Minister after Solberg assumed power. This information is not in Parliament’s register, though.

mps, norway, parliament, shares, disclosure, transparency



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Norway PM’s spouse declines shares investment transparency

Published on Thursday, 6th November, 2014 at 22:02 under the news category, by Susanne Tunge Østhus.
Last Updated on 7th November 2014 at 11:16.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s husband Sindre Finnes is not legally obliged to disclose which stocks he has invested in, according to him. Anti-corruption experts express concern.



The matter came up in connection with NRK's article, Thursday, on which shares MPs and Ministers have in which companies and organisations.       

The Norwegian broadcaster also reported that Mr Finnes declared information about his holdings to the relevant authorities, including the Office of the Prime Minister after Solberg assumed power. This information is not in Parliament’s register, though.

The Prime Minister’s spouse or other family members are not obliged to publically declare their financial interests, but Erna Solberg is required to do so by law. This is to ensure governmental transparency.

Legislation also obliges Norwegian parliamentarians to disclose holdings over 88,000 Norwegian kroner – or more than 1 per cent of the company’s capital – to parliament’s administration.

But the current system, which is based on trust, is flawed, according to anti-corruption expert Tina Søreide.

“It allows elected representatives to channel assets they wish to withhold from public disclosure to their spouse,” she said.

A Council of Europe anti-corruption report about the Norwegian government, adopted by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) at its 64th plenary meeting in Strasbourg in June this year, highlights this issue.

“Moreover, as no information is provided on spouses’ and dependent family members’ interests, there is a risk that the aim of the register might be circumvented by channelling MPs’ assets to other close family members,” the report outlines.

Ms Søreide thinks that people in Norway “should feel confident that elected representatives’ personal finances cannot influence politicians' decisions.”

“This means that which investments Sindre Finnes has made is relevant information for the public sphere, as this information is currently not controlled,” she commented to NRK.

Svein Roald Hansen, vice president of the Parliament for the Labour Party, is to lead an internal task group to evaluate suggestions made by GRECO. They have advantages and disadvantages, he argues.

“We will carefully consider the proposals in GRECO’s report. A more transparent registry would be positive, but also problematic if one is to include people who are not elected to parliament and who have not chosen to reveal their private finances. Where do you draw the line for spouses, partners, and/or children?”

NRK’s list of stocks owned by Members of Parliament and Ministers can be found here (external link, in Norwegian).



Published on Thursday, 6th November, 2014 at 22:02 under the news category, by Susanne Tunge Østhus.
Last updated on 7th November 2014 at 11:16.

This post has the following tags: mps, norway, parliament, shares, disclosure, transparency.





  
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