(News Bulletin 247) – Erna Solberg confided that her husband had carried out more than 3,600 stock market transactions “without her knowledge”. His continued leadership of the Norwegian Conservative Party is now threatened.

Former conservative Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg deplored “a serious breach of trust” on Friday by revealing that her husband had carried out, largely without her knowledge according to her, more than 3,600 stock market transactions while she was in power.

During a press conference where she struggled to contain her tears, Erna Solberg admitted that the multiple stock market operations carried out by Sindre Finnes while she led the country between 2013 and 2021 should have, because of the risks of conflicts of interest, make her incompetent for certain decisions she took.

3,640 stock market transactions

Responsible in an employers’ organization, Sindre Finnes “did much more than he told me,” explained the former head of government.

In eight years, Sindre Finnes carried out 3,640 stock market transactions which resulted in 1.8 million crowns (157,000 euros) in gains, according to a list produced by the person concerned at the request of Erna Solberg, herself pressed for questions by the press.

“The list shows that Sindre was not honest with me when I was Prime Minister nor when I confronted him about this matter,” Erna Solberg said. “It’s a serious breach of trust.”

A “political management manual”

The number and nature of the decisions taken against the backdrop of possible conflicts of interest are not known at this stage. Erna Solberg assured that she had not provided her husband with information likely to constitute insider trading. His revelations sparked calls for a police investigation, or even his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party.

In Norway, politicians and their spouses are required to familiarize themselves with a “political management manual”, a 47-page booklet which addresses in particular the issue of private finances and conflicts of interest.

This affair comes at a time when four ministers in the center-left government which succeeded that of Erna Solberg were recently implicated for conflicts of interest. Two resigned.

Erna Solberg, who hopes to return to power after the 2025 legislative elections, indicated that in the event of an electoral victory, her husband should place his savings in a simple bank account or in funds, without the possibility of trading in particular securities.

(With AFP)