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Man arrested in Norway for spying for Russia

On 15th August, a Norwegian citizen was arrested in a restaurant in Oslo (Capital of Norway) after being suspected of spying for Russia.

The accused wasn’t named by the Norwegian Police Security Service, but is suspected of “harming vital national interests”. If convicted, he will have to serve a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The Police arrested a man in his late 50s at a restaurant in Oslo in the presence of another man, who is believed to be a Russian Intelligence officer. He was suspected of handing over information that is of interest to a foreign nation. Although, the suspect’s lawyer, Marianne Darre-Naess, has told the press that her client denies any wrongdoing.

And, when the media asked the Police about the whereabouts of the alleged Russian Intelligence officer, the Police department spokesperson said, “We focus on the Norwegian man.”

The Norwegian media said that this was a case of Industrial Espionage, and Norway-based DNV GL (the largest technical consultancy firm to the global renewable energy and oil and gas industry) also confirmed that the suspect was their employee.

The man in question will face custody trial before an Oslo court which will be held behind closed doors. The Police are asking the court if the man can be detained for four weeks for further interrogation.

Interestingly, Norway’s most recent known spy case involving Russia in 2019 was centred around a retired Norwegian border inspector- Frode Berg, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for espionage. In November 2019, he was part of a three-way spy swap when he and two Lithuanians were freed in exchange for two Russians who had been in prison in Lithuania.

Even though Norway and Russia normally enjoyed good relations and share a short land border, relations have grown tense since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and a pro-Russia rebellion erupted in eastern Ukraine. This lead to heightened tensions between both nations. Regardless, it is unclear how the current scenario would affect relations between the two countries.

Reporter- Pranav M

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