Government facing ‘insider’ claims over salmon tax plan

© Foto: Liv Aarberg/Venstre
Sveinung Rotevatn

An insider information row is brewing over the Norwegian government’s proposed ground rent salmon tax.

The newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv (dn.no) is claiming that at least 200 people knew about the plan before it was unexpectedly announced in late September.

The Oslo government had intended to unveil it at the national Budget on 6 October, but rumours began to spread several days earlier, leading to several coastal mayors, many of them members of Finance minister Trygve Vedum’s Centre Party, to voice their concern.

The leaks forced the government into making a premature announcement on 27 September. Salmon company shares crashed heavily on the news. It is being claimed that some people had sold salmon shares, although it is not yet being claimed they had inside knowledge.

Now Dagens Naeringsliv has uncovered information that up 228 people knew about the tax proposal including all ministers and dozens of government employees.

The row has now entered the political arena with the Norwegian Liberal Party calling for a full investigation.

The party’s deputy leader, Sveinung Rotevatn, told the Storting (Norway’s parliament) that MPs should be told why so many people were given access to stock exchange sensitive information before it became public knowledge.

He claimed it was even made known to a few people who were not part of the government.

The right wing FrP party is also demanding an explanation. A party spokesman said that if inside information had gone astray or gone into the wrong hands, it was a very serious matter.

The Labour-Centre coalition government has yet to respond.