Norway union boss calls for new oil fund head to resign

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Norway union boss calls for new oil fund head to resign

The leader of Norway's biggest private sector trade union has called for the scandal-hit incoming head of the country's 10tn kroner oil fund to resign before he even takes up his position.


Jørn Eggum, head of The United Federation of Trade Unions, told the VG newspaper that he believed billionaire fund manager Nicolai Tangen could not take up his place, after recent revelations over a luxury trip he arranged. 
"The person in control of the nation's money bag must have the confidence of the Norwegian people. And Nicolai Tangen doesn't have it," he told the VG newspaper. 
"Tangen's judgement around this luxury tour shows quite clearly that he's not the right man to manage the welfare and pensions of future generations."  
A scandal has blown up around Tangen after a report in VG showed that before he was appointed as the fund's future manager, he flew the fund's outgoing head Yngve Slyngstad to the US on a luxury jet, together with a government minister and Norway's attorney general, for a three-day private conference. 
After, the trip, he then emailed Slyngstad asking as "a little favour", for him to brief him on the oil fund job. 
Tangen told VG he had no intention of not taking up his position. 
"I am insisting that I have done anything wrong and I look forward to having the true facts of the matter put in the correct light," he wrote in an email to VG. 
"We are working to get an overview of the cost of the event and will share this with the public as soon as it is clear, probably tomorrow morning," he added. 
The supervisory board of Norges Bank, which administers the oil fund, yesterday announced it would hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to discuss the process through which Tangen was appointed, and to examine whether the luxury trip could have impacted the decision. 


The bank has already agreed to refund the cost of Slyngstad's three-day visit to the "Back to University" seminar Tangen arranged at his Alma Mater, the Wharton business school in Philadelphia. 
The minister who attended, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, has admitted that he made a mistake, while Norway's ambassador to the UN, Mona Juul, who also attended, has apologised, while her department has agreed to pay the cost.  
"When some of the country's foremost peoples must, despite the humiliation, admit to having messed up, and say they regret it, Tangen cannot just stay put and say that he thinks he has done nothing wrong," Eggum said. 
He called for the bank's supervisory board to resolve to dismiss Tangen if he does not agree to resign. 
"I strongly believe that Norges Bank's Supervisory Board will make the right assessment," he said. "A bank of the people must be led by someone who has met ordinary people."


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