The government opened up the seabed for mineral resources. Ola Borden held shares in Moe Holdings.

The government opened up the seabed for mineral resources.  Ola Borden held shares in Moe Holdings.

Shortly before the government opened up exploration for offshore minerals, Kongsberg Gruppen bought a mineral company. Earlier, Ola Borten Moe both bought shares in Kongsberg Gruppen and met the mineral company’s management.

Ola Borten Moe resigned as Minister of Research and Higher Education this summer because of breaches of ethics rules and lack of interest in stock trading during her tenure as minister.

Short version

  • Former SP deputy leader and Minister of Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe is under investigation by the Storting’s Control Committee. Before the government awarded Kongsberg-owned Nammo a billion-dollar deal, Moe bought a stake in Kongsberg Gruppen. He resigned due to this.
  • The control panel is also asking about Moe’s role in the government’s decision to allow offshore mineral extraction after buying a stake in Kongsberg. Kongsberg has made itself a major investor in Loc Marine Minerals.
  • Moe claims he is competent and that he was unaware of Kongsberg’s acquisition of Lok Minerals and that the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy treated Norway’s potential search for offshore minerals. He also pointed out that his investments show that it is not wise for a sitting minister to invest in private stocks.

The summary was created with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and guaranteed quality by Aftenposten’s journalists.

In July, Ola Borten Moe (Sp) resigned as Minister of Research and Vice-Chairman of the Center Party. The background is the purchase of shares in Kongsberg Gruppen.

The purchase comes ahead of the government awarding Kongsberg-owned Nammo a billion-dollar contract.

After Mo’s resignation, Storting’s control committee sent several questions to Prime Minister Jonas Kahr Stort (AP). They want answers on how the Prime Minister’s Office managed non-discrimination rules and procedures.

But the committee also wants an answer to a specific question about former minister Ola Borden Moe.

This is about Moe’s role in another case – from which Kongsberg Group could later profit.

Treasures on the seabed

Earlier in the summer, the government decided to allow the extraction of minerals from the seabed.

One of the companies that has shown interest in extracting important minerals is Loc Marine Minerals. It is one of the few undersea minerals in Norway.

The Storting is now asking questions about Ola Borten Moe and this company.

The control panel wants to know whether Ola Borten Moe, after buying shares in Kongsberg Gruppen, was involved in any way in the decisions to open offshore mineral extraction.

The reason is that Kongsberg Gruppen found itself a major investor in Loc Marine Minerals before the government opened up the seabed.

We return for the winter of 2022.

Mo met mineral magnates

In January last year, Loc Marine Minerals explored the possibility of applying for research funding. After the meeting with the Research Council, there was a feeling that it would be difficult because the arrangements were working. This is shown by the emails that Aftenposten has access to.

Later, the company contacted the ministry with the help of business leader and board member Svein Richard Brantzæg.

In May 2022, the company met Mo.

Svein Richard Brantzæg (th) proposed a meeting in March between Lok Marine Minerals and Minister Ola Borten Moe. He also got approval for it. From here since Ola Borten Moe appointed Brantzæg as chairman of the general board in June.

A few days after the meeting, company chairman Hans Olav Heide thanked Ola Borden Moe for being able to inform them of their “ongoing activities and projects”.

Hide said he will apply for research funding in the future – in collaboration with the Kongsberg Group. And he suggested that seabed mineral extraction should be identified as something that deserves public support.

When the government presented its mineral plans a year later, one of the decisions was precisely the creation of a targeted initiative by the Research Council.

As Research Minister, Ola Borden Moe was the Chair of the Research Council when the government presented its plans. At the same time, he became an owner in Kongsberg Gruppen.

Would that disqualify him?

Ola Borden Moe: I think he’s talented

Offenposten has asked questions about Ola Borden Mo’s relationship with Loke Marine Minerals and whether it was involved in decisions to open the seabed after Kongsberg bought shares and Kongsberg Group bought Loke.

Moe writes in a reply that he believes it is a minister’s job to meet with different parts of the business world and that he has no personal relationship with anyone at Loc Marine Minerals.

He also writes that the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy led the process of whether to search for minerals in Norwegian waters.

– Mo says that I had no important part in the treatment of the government, but was an ordinary member of the government.

Moe writes that he was unaware of the Kongsberg Group’s purchase of Loc Marine Minerals.

– I don’t know that Kongsberg bought Loc Minerals, when, how big a stake or how much money they invested.

Therefore, capacity is not specifically assessed.

– but I still believe that I am clearly competent in relation to any announcements made by the Government’s Therapeutics and Research Council.

Moe justifies this by saying that, as he interprets competence terms, he is not incompetent when it comes to general policy development.

On the other hand, if it had been a question of licensing, for example, the matter would have looked different.

– shows that investment by incumbent minister is foolish

Mo also points out that although he should be disqualified as a minister, the Research Council will not be disqualified from considering applications. The money applied for by Lok Marine Minerals also comes from another ministry.

– The Ministry of Education has no role in the specific distribution of funds. As a minister, I have never tried to manage allocations at the scheme level or allocate funds to named recipients,” Mo writes.

Mo concludes by repeating that this shows that it is foolish for a sitting minister to invest in private stocks.

– You never know what problems may arise after that. I must be allowed to say that by resigning my ministerial post I have accepted the consequences, writes Ola Borden Moe, who believes he was within the norms in this matter.

Chairman:- This is unfair

Hans Olav Heide, president of Lok Marine Minerals, tells Optenbosten that they contacted the ministry after the application was rejected at the Research Council.

– This is a new exciting opportunity for our country, and we have applied for support to the Research Council and Innovation Norway several times. “We think it’s bloody unfair that an industry as high-powered as wind power shouldn’t get support,” Hide says.

Hans Olav Heide, president of Lok Marine Minerals

– Bloody injustice, he says, hides the fact that it is difficult to get support for seabed mineral exploration.

It is this bias that they wanted to convey to Ola Borden Moe, Hide explains.

– Did you inform Ola Borden Mo that Kongsberg Groupon wants to buy Loki?

– It did not arise at that time. It happened later. A joint project was underway, but the investment idea did not materialize. In my mind, there is no connection between Kongsberg Gruppen and Loki to buy Kongsberg Gruppen’s shares.

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