Norsk Hydro scandal: Who is Nigel St John Martin?

BBC News Nigel St John Martin and his deputy, Peter Pilz, have lost their jobs as head and vice-president of the energy company Norsk Hydro ASA. They stepped down earlier this week as a…

Norsk Hydro scandal: Who is Nigel St John Martin?

BBC News

Nigel St John Martin and his deputy, Peter Pilz, have lost their jobs as head and vice-president of the energy company Norsk Hydro ASA.

They stepped down earlier this week as a result of findings from a former Norwegian police chief who found significant corruption in the Norsk Hydro project.

The scandal hit the company right at its core: in its upstream uranium mine in the Spie region of south-western Norway, which accounts for around 30% of the company’s earnings.

The mine, and a related power station, are overseen by the Norwegian government.

Who is Nigel St John Martin?

Originally from Scotland, Mr Martin was brought to Norway in 1979 and has led the company for more than two decades. His academic background includes graduating in physics and economics from Glasgow University.

Norsk Hydro is one of the world’s largest producers of aluminium.

How did this come about?

The whistleblower: Superintendent Lars Masvald Hamit Nielsen

Norway’s biggest business scandal is the downfall of Norsk Hydro’s British chairman Nigel St John Martin and his deputy Peter Pilz after an 18-month investigation was published this week.

Hydro chief executive officer Svein Richard Brandtzaeg has also stepped down, along with Norsk Hydro’s two independent directors.

The corporation’s other independent director, Bjorn Dendahl, also headed the board’s investigation.

The investigation by Norway’s police special prosecutors found that “numerous serious deficiencies in criminal investigations” were “part of a system of protection” within the company.

It also found evidence of “poor relations” between civil servants and officials at the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

Norway’s finance minister also resigned in the wake of the report.

There’s more: it was revealed that rival US nuclear company Westinghouse was allowed to receive a $340m loan from Norway despite submitting “fraudulent” papers about it’s project. The bid collapsed and Westinghouse is now insolvent.

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