Shipowner family settles with widow's butler

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Shipowner family settles with widow's butler
A scene from Dinner for One, a comedy involving a butler popular in Scandinavia at Christmas - Youtube

The butler who allegedly embezzled 1.6 million kroner ($270,000) from a shipowner's widow has reached a settlement with her family.


Thomas Wassdal was Anette Skaugen's constant companion for a decade following the 2002 death of her husband Brynjulf​.
When Mrs Skaugen was moved to an old people's home in 2011, her son and daughter uncovered a series of suspicious transactions charged in her accounts, from large withdrawals from cash machines to lavish bills from nightclubs and expensive restaurants. 
Even after Skaugen was placed in her home home, Wassdal took out 70,000 kroner in just one month.
The family, which demanded that Wassdal pay back 5.4 million kroner, has, according to DN, settled after he paid back just one million kroner. 
Wassdal claimed in court that all of the contested transactions had been done with Mrs Skaugen's approval.
"I used to sometimes get a little extra," he said. "It was a 'candy bag' that she used to hand out."  
Wassdal had such a close relationship with Mrs Skaugen that at one point she made him an heir, writing in her will that the three million kroner he borrowed from the family to buy an apartment should be written off on her death as gratitude for his service. 
Norwegian financier Jan Petter Sissener, a long time friend of the Skaugen family, spoke up for Wassdal in court. 
“He did everything for her, it was a big job,” he said in court. “He was her personal servant. It wasn’t easy."
"I do not think I want to comment on some things around the settlement.It's for the best," Wassdal wrote in an email to DN.
Brynjulf Skaugen's fortune came initially from the large stake in the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line he inherited with his brothers. After he and his brothers sold out in 1988, he made a second fortune supplying ships to the oil and gas industry.  


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