Norway’s Central Bank President Embroiled in Tax Scandal
OSLO, Norway (AP) _ The president of the state Bank of Norway, Torstein Moland, said Wednesday he will take a leave of absence to fight charges he violated tax laws.
``I don’t find any reason to resign and I will pursue this further,″ Moland told reporters, vowing to appeal the ruling to the national tax board.
The deputy head of the bank, Kjell Storvik, will fill in for Moland until the matter is cleared. Moland did not say how long that might take.
Moland, who became head of the central bank in January 1994, was among 150 Norwegians under investigation for violating tax rules in 1990 in an investment scheme.
The investors were accused of taking improper tax-deductions on their investments.
The local tax boards in Oslo and nearby Baerum, which were investigating the case, ordered the state bank president on Wednesday to pay the back taxes plus a 45 percent penalty for ``gross negligence.″
The ruling immediately raised questions about whether Moland could continue in office as one of the key players in the Norwegian economy.
The appointment almost a year ago of Moland, a member of the ruling Labor Party, had drawn sharp criticism because he was already under investigation for tax violations.
A vote of no confidence forwarded by the opposition in Parliament failed last year, mainly because the outcome of the tax investigation was not known.