Sandberg poised to resign – reports


NORWAY’S controversial fisheries minister, Per Sandberg, is poised to resign later today, Aftenpost, a leading Norwegian newspaper is reporting. The story has also been picked up by the national broadcaster NRK.
Sandberg (pictured) has been under intense political pressure since taking a holiday in Iran last month with his new girlfriend, 27-year-old Bahareh Letnes, a former Iranian beauty queen but who now runs a seafood export business.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who had defended Sandberg throughout, is expected to name a new fisheries minister within the next 24 hours.
Sandberg has been under fire for the past two weeks, not as a result of his new relationship with Letnes, but because of his choice of country.
Iran is being blacklisted by the United States, Norway’s fourth largest salmon market, and Donald Trump has warned that anyone doing business with Iran will be sanctioned by the US.
It then emerged that Sandberg broke strict security rules by taking his government issue mobile phone with him to Iran.
Senior ministers are supposed to leave their official phones at home when going on holiday. It also emerged that the prime minister was not informed about the visit until after he had left.
Solberg said just three days ago that while her minister had not followed the proper procedures, everyone was entitled to an occasional mistake and he had learned from the experience.
But he has been subject to a list of difficult and probing questions from political parties on the Norwegian centre and left, which has also threatened the stability of the government.
However, if his resignation is confirmed later today it will disappoint many people in Norway’s fish farming industry. He is regarded as an enterprising minister who has refused to bow to political demands to impose higher taxes on aquaculture companies. He has also opened the way for major expansion.
But Sandberg has not been quite so popular among sections of the fish catching industry who have been opposed to some of his reforms.


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