Mayor of Oslo resigns after tax fraud scandal

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The mayor of the Norwegian capital Oslo, Per Ditlev-Simonsen, resigned today after massive critique following revelations that he used to have a Swiss bank account for which he did not pay taxes. Ditlev-Simonsen was elected mayor in 1995. Before that, he was the defence minister of Norway from 1989 to 1990.

Allegations that Ditlev-Simonsen had an unknown Swiss bank account were first made in the financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv on August 17. He admitted to not having paid taxes on the money in the account, which he said was closed before he became mayor. The account reportedly contained NOK 1 500 000, approx. EUR 182 000.

Ditlev-Simonsen belongs to the Conservative Party (Høyre), and said that concerns about the party's recognition was the main factor in his decision to resign. He also said the requests from liberal parties weighed heavily in on his decision, saying he wanted to be a uniting mayor.

There will be a regional election in Norway on September 10. The Ditlev-Simonsen case has reportedly hurt the Conservative Party's reputation, though the polls still give the party better odds than in the last election.