Norway’s Catholic Church fined for fraud

Norway’s Catholic Church has been fined 1m kroner (NZ$201,120) for puffing up its membership numbers.

In addition, Oslo diocese’s chief administrative officer has been charged with aggravated fraud.

The Government in Norway finances the churches. The amount they pay is in proportion to the number of church members.

Accusers say the Oslo diocese searched telephone books to build up their imaginary membership.

They say the diocese targeted immigrants’ whose names appeared to come from Catholic countries.

They were then listed as Catholic church members without their knowledge.

The fraud is alleged to have occurred between 2011 and 2014.

As a result of this alleged activity, the church has been able to get more money from the Government than it would otherwise be due.

If the diocese refuses to pay the fine it will have to face trial.

The Norwegian Government also wants the Catholic church to refund 40.6m kroner (NZ $8,168,941.) which they say has been overpaid.

“We’ve never done anything illegal or received too much money,” the Catholic church said in a statement.

“We have always recognised that we have made mistakes and had an unfortunate practice in parts of our registration. This was cleaned up a long [time] ago.”



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