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Why Norway's former PM is in hot water over her husband's share trading 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Why Norway's former PM is in hot water over her husband's share trading 
Erna Solberg is in hot water over her husband's share trading. File photo: Erna Solberg speaks at the Global Citizen NOW Summit at The Glasshouse in New York City. Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen/AFP (Photo by Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Conservative Party leader and former prime minister Erna Solberg is under intense scrutiny after her husband made thousands of share trades and netted 1.8 million kroner in profit while she was PM.


Erna Solberg was close to tears at a press conference on Friday when divulging more information about the share trading of her husband, Sindre Finnes, while she was Prime Minister of Norway between 2013 and 2021. 

"I have been incompetent in matters I have dealt with when I was prime minister," she told the Norwegian press on Friday. 

"Now it is clear that he (Sindre Finnes) has nonetheless conducted extensive short-term share trading. He has done that even though he knew he shouldn't. He also knew why he shouldn't do it," she added. 

Solberg said her husband had not been honest about the full extent of his share trading. 

"Breach of trust is always difficult, and especially difficult in a family and a marriage. It hurts me to be as hard on Sindre as I am today," she said. 

She added that the Prime Minister's Office warned her husband about his trading but that he continued anyway. 

Finnes has apologised in the press to his wife over his trading. 

"I am very sorry that I have put Erna in this situation. I have not been honest, neither with her nor with the Prime Minister's office. I deeply regret that" he told business and financial site E24

"I have made serious mistakes which have made it impossible for Erna to assess her competence when she was prime minister. After she stepped down as Prime Minister, I also gave both her and the press incorrect information about my stock trades," he added. 


What exactly has happened? 

Recently, it has come to light that the PM's husband had traded shares in several companies while she was PM. 

Documents released by the Conservative Party on Friday revealed that he made 3,600 share transactions over the eight years Solberg was prime minister. 

He also netted around 1.8 million kroner in net profit from these trades. 

Several of the companies he traded shares in have direct or indirect links to the Norwegian government or are affected by government policies. 

The extent of the trading was much more than Solberg and Finnes had admitted to the press previously. 

Why is this a problem? 

Ministers and government members in Norway have a set of guidelines to follow. Among these are conflict of interest rules and impartiality rules. They must assess whether they are acting impartially or whether a conflict of interest has affected their judgment. 


The guidelines for government members also include regulations for the partners of ministers and prime ministers. 

Breaching such guidelines is considered serious as it undermines the public's trust in the government. 

Finnes's trading while Solberg was prime minister also opens up questions to whether he was privy to inside information. 

This is something the PM has strongly denied. 

"I have never shared inside information with Sindre. Nor has he acted on any inside information about this," she told public broadcaster NRK earlier this month. 

What will happen to Solberg?

Norway's economic crime unit Økokrim has said that it will consider whether there are grounds for opening an investigation of Finnes's share trading. 

Solberg will be probed by a parliamentary committee in November. Finnes's share trading will be part of a larger hearing on impartiality and conflict of interest by the control and constitution committee in November. 


The fresh revelations will come as a blow to Solberg. Despite being ousted in the 2021 elections, she remains a popular figure in Norwegian politics. 

Over the previous weeks and months, she had been increasingly critical of the current government, which itself was embroiled in several conflict of interest cases. 

Svein Erik Tuastad, associate professor of political science at the University of Stavanger, has said further revelations could lead to Solberg's resignation. 

"It could lead to her resignation because the case could turn out to be even more serious than the one here. One could think that it would also weaken her motivation when it comes to continuing, but I like to think that it is the opposite, that she does not want to be a politician who ends with a scandal," he told ABC Nyheter

Solberg has said that deciding whether she should be replaced as leader would be a matter for the Conservative Party. 

"The question of who is the leader of the Conservative Party is a question that the Conservative Party will decide on itself," she told the press on Friday. 


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