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Financial Scandal Unveiled: Norwegian Audit Firm KWC Under Investigation for Ecoteq Case

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To make a long story short

  • Finanstilsynet has opened supervisory proceedings against the audit company KWC, which approved a controversial maneuver in the Norwegian oil company Ecoteq.
  • The Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority wants answers to how KWC manages risk and complies with the Money Laundering Act, and assessments related to the capital increase in Ecoteq.
  • The clues point to a Swedish businessman with connections to criminal networks.

Sea view

– Refers to e-mail with questions about what we can say about our activity in the matter, which is mentioned both in Capital and in Dagbladet. It can be confirmed that we have opened a supervisory case.

That’s what Anders Grini, Acting Head of Section at Finanstilsynet, writes in an e-mail to Dagbladet.

The inspection concerns the small Norwegian oil company Ecoteq. The matter is complicated.

But in short, it is about whether the company is worth more than NOK 2.6 billion.

Or if it’s all a hoax.

GOING IN: Anders Grini in the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority demands answers from the audit firm KWC. Photo: Finanstilsynet Show more

Sound the alarm

It was on March 31 last year that on one general meeting in Ecoteq, it was decided to issue shares for NOK 2.64 billion.

That process is now being tried to be stopped in a civil legal claim, a so-called “temporary injunction”, to the Oslo district court.

The sender is the well-known financier Per Morten Hansen. He himself was involved in the Ecoteq case, but now claims that the value of the company has been inflated – and that the company is only worth a fraction. He says to Dagbladet:

– I am surprised that neither the law firm SANDS nor the auditing company KWC took me seriously, when I notified this already in October 2023. I think that is very strange.

In the papers at the Oslo District Court, Hansen now refers to himself as a “whistleblower” in the case.

The officer’s secret roles

Pointing at Norman

The background for the violent increase in value in Ecoteq was that Ecoteq acquired the American company Valkor Environmental, which was alleged to own lucrative oil rights in Utah in the USA.

The seller of Valkor was a British company called Global Business Partner Commodities Ltd. It is registered to a Swedish woman living in Spain, who in the legal claim is assumed to be a straw woman.

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Documents submitted to the Oslo district court show that the real list of shareholders, people who could make a lot of money from the value of Ecoteq increasing sharply, contained completely different names.

The documents in the legal claim indicate that Anthony Norman was central to the process.

He is a Swedish businessman – who Dagbladet has revealed has connections to several criminal circles. On the occasion of the revelations, Dagbladet applied to Norman, via his lawyer and per letter to the prison where he is sitting – without success.

MANY CONNECTIONS: Dagbladet revealed Anthony Norman’s network in February. Graphics: Kjell Erik Berg Show more

Changed auditor

In as shareholders, after the values ​​in the company increased sharply, a man who had previously been convicted of a spectacular robbery in Stockholm was also – among others – to join. We also find a Ukrainian-born businessman who has received large fines in the US for a case reminiscent of the Ecoteq case.

It all fell apart when Ecoteq’s auditor said no to the massive increase in share value. Then Ecoteq changed auditor, to partner Simen Weiby in the auditing company KWC.

KWC guaranteed that the value of Ecoteq could be increased. Now they have to answer several questions from Finanstilsynet.

– KWC Revisjon AS does not have the opportunity to comment or explain the case in more detail, due to, among other things, the duty of confidentiality, writes Simen Weiby in KWC in a text message.

– What is your comment on Per Morten Hansen’s criticism?

– As previously mentioned, KWC Revisjon cannot comment or explain the case in more detail. This also includes the premises for Dagbladet’s questions and how we have dealt with information or allegations we may have received from Per Morten Hansen.

GAVE THE CLEAR SIGNAL: Simen Weiby in the audit firm KWC. Photo: KWC Show more

More questions

According to a letter to KWC, which Dagbladet has seen, the Finanstilsynet will have answers to, among other things, how KWC handles risk and how they comply with the Money Laundering Act, and assessments related to the capital increase in Ecoteq

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Sea view

Ecoteq director Lars Erik Bengtsson writes in an SMS:

– We have no indications that KWC has done anything objectionable in this case. Beyond that, we have no comments.

Lawyer Lars Tormodsgard in SANDS writes in a text message:

– We do not know the inspection that has been opened against KWC, and therefore have no comments either on it or on Hansen’s views

2024-03-02 13:59:09

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