Attorney defense strategies

Table 19.1 partly repeats Table 18.1 and lists wrongdoing by white-collar clients that their attorneys handle toward public authorities. All these issues came up in the last three years. The task for the attorneys is to prevent any reversal of any permits and to secure new permits to emerge.

Three defense strategies

Three themes are particularly noteworthy when distinguishing white-collar defense strategies from other defense strategies by attorneys. First, the role of white-collar attorneys is radically different from the typical criminal lawyer who defends a person suspected of and charged with street crime. Excessive power and greed is frequently the cause of white-collar crime, while poverty and powerlessness tends to be the cause of street crime. The former defense attorney spends far more time on each case, in terms of both workload and in terms of calendar time. This implies that a white-collar attorney works on fewer cases in parallel. The white-collar attorney gets a case much earlier and is far more likely to succeed in keeping wrongdoing charges away from the client. Second, information control is at the center of the white-collar attorney’s work. The attorney is concerned with acquisition of crucial information and keeps damaging information out of the hands of public authorities such as municipalities, police investigators, and public prosecutors. A third theme centers on a major dilemma of these attorneys: How to defend vigorously the client without thereby becoming a party to the criminal act (Gottschalk, 2014).

In line with these themes, three specific strategies applied by white-collar attorneys are typical in defense of rich and mighty clients. First, a substance defense strategy' is concerned with when and how an attorney decides to defend the client in a substantive way. Often, the substantive defense starts at a much earlier stage than in a street crime case. Several of the attorneys listed in Table 18.1 went early on into arguments with the municipality that all permits given were legally binding for the municipality.

Second, information control strategy is concerned with how the attorney determines what and how crucial information to control to make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for public authorities to get the complete picture. Often,

Table 19.1 Identified white-collar clients and their cases of wrongdoing

White-collar client

Attorney case


Ole Andresen

Denied swimming pool in Flatas road 109


Rune Breili

Architect involved in deviant cases


Arnfinn Hafsteen

Serious material competence shortage


Ole Borge

Decision to demolish a building


Arnfinn Hafsteen

Legality control of new building


Rune Breili

Suspected of corruption by the police


Werner Osther

Illegal blasting performed by approved company


Nanna Flogstad Sohlberg

Summer house in Langestrand road 71 postponed


Gunnar Fredrik Selvaag

Summer house in Nautnes road 129 nonconforming


Hans Ole Helling

Demolition of tennis court


Carl Erik Krefting

Ottos road 46 liable for replacement


Turid Varner

Flekken road 64 with illegal terrace


Hans Fetter Abrahamsen

Accusation of corruption by receiving bribes


Harald Dybsjord

Assessment cannot be reviewed afterward


Sigmund Arnesen

Revocation of permission for Mostranda Camping


Harald Svendsen

Approval of own building applications


Rune Breili

Violation charges for Bukkeliodden 54


Kristina M. Wilhelmsen

General permit for Odekjser road 43 reversed


Lars Hellik Strom

Removal of terrace and splashing walls


Sigmund Arnesen

Decision on reversal for Mostranda Camping


Tore Jacobsen

Mo road 104 connection to Mostranda Camping


Oyvind Garner

Summerhouse moved 5 m


Fridtjov Botvid Falck

Removal of stalls and exterior tiles


Celestine Clauson

No tennis court or swimming pool


Nanna Flogstad Sohlberg

Postponed of cottage in Langestrand road 71


Harald Svendsen

Accusation of illegal construction in Sjobodsand


77 construction firms

Construction industry lacking work


Rune Breili

Construction cases since 2010


Svein Homstvedt

Case of illegality in Flekken road 96


Scammer and scammed

Neholm road 67 fraud of 10 million kroner


Mailing og Middelfart

Gryte reef blown up and building without permit


Tom Ragnar Wilhelmsen

Lilleskag road 89, doubled cottage size


Anders C. Wilhelmsen

General permit for 0dekj£er road 43 removed


Mette Landgraflf

Violated property borders


Evy Reimers

Illegal boathouses in Dais road 88


Marianne and Ulf Stuge

Illegal terrace in Nord harbor 62

information control defense is able to keep secrets and to claim that pieces of information are irrelevant. In municipal control work, there are normally a number of information sources. Controlling and limiting some sources can ensure that municipal control procedures are never successful in solving the wrongdoing puzzle. Several of the attorneys listed in Table 18.1 went early on into the supply of documents in favor of their clients to the municipality, while they denied access to documents in disfavor of their clients.

Third, the symbolic defense strategy' addresses all other means that the attorney can apply to divert attention away from legal issues. An example is to use the press or other media to portray the offender as a victim. This was particularly evident when attorney Vibeke Hein Bxra in defense of architect Rune Breili (line 6 in Tables 18.1 and 19.1) portrayed the architect as a victim. His architectural firm had almost collapsed and faced bankruptcy. Breili had bribed nobody in the municipality, but rather helped the head of building permits when that person needed an architect to design his new home (Klevstrand et al., 2020).

Substance defense strategy

The counterpart for an attorney in misconduct and crime cases is the authorities, who decide whether a suspect is required to demolish the summerhouse. To prevent a negative municipal decision, the attorney will try to convince the staff as well as the politicians in the municipality that the client has done nothing that justifies demolition. The strategic issue for the attorney is how to succeed stopping the public authority from advancing the inquiry from suspicion to decisions that harm the client. While very different from other crime cases, an attorney’s active defense work often starts in the initial phases of detection, when there are only rumors of wrongdoing that may or may not be relevant for municipal interference (Gottschalk, 2014).

Initially, it does not matter for the attorney whether the client has actually done something wrong that deserves punishment, because rumors so often develop into accusations in the media. In the Tjome case, the key whistleblower continued to feed the media with information about summerhouses that were not according to permits and landscapes that had changed completely. Investigative journalists got into boats and took pictures of the palaces. Both local media (e.g., Holmov, 2017, Wang, 2019) and national media (e.g., Dugstad and Skaalmo, 2017; Klevstrand, 2018) published stories with summerhouse pictures and names of owners. Journalists called owners for comments, and the owners transferred the inquiries to their attorneys. In that way, attorneys typically involve themselves long before any potential sanctions are on the agenda in the town hall in the municipality of Tjome.

If a white-collar attorney were to behave in white-collar cases similar to attorneys in street crime cases, then the attorney would simply wait for the arrival of evidence against the client. Then the attorney would react to the evidence and the potential sanction. The street crime attorney is mainly reactive, while the white- collar attorney is proactive. The street crime attorney waits for formal charges against the client and then makes up an opinion what to do next. Typically, the attorney argues that the evidence is not sufficient to prove wrongdoing or guilt because presented evidence does not document in an adequate and convincing manner that the client has done something wrong that requires sanction. The attorney may argue that the evidence only proves outdated misconduct that cannot lead to sanctions. Uncertainty and doubt should benefit the client, every attorney will argue. It is ever)' attorney’s job to interpret laws and regulations in a subjective way, which should lead to a not-guilty conclusion for the client. This is the substance defense strategy. The attorney contributes legal and factual substance to a case handled by a public authority such as a municipality.

White-collar attorneys also contribute substance defense like street crime lawyers, but there are several differences, related to both points in time and magnitude of contribution. A white-collar substance defense starts much earlier in the public agency process, and it may last much longer into all kinds of appeals and retrials. The magnitude of contribution relates to the level of detail and the scope of evidence. Often, financial wrongdoing finds its documentation in detail such as a single bank transaction, a single invoice, or a single procurement of building material. The scope of evidence is often such that a lot of redundant and irrelevant material overflows the case to make sure that the parties overlook nothing of potential relevance. Instead of waiting for a potential sanction from the municipality, such as demolition of parts of the palace or waiting for the criminal case to open in court, the attorney starts substance defense as early as possible potentially to stop the procedure and the client from ever appearing in a municipal case or a court case. It is more the rule than exception that the attorney, in fear of future consequences, is actively on the case already when there are merely suspicion and rumors circulating. More rumors and accusations in the public domain can in fact be helpful to the attorney, as the attorney may argue that the case needs a stronger focus.

For example, in a fraud case in Norway, police investigators accused a family of insider trading in a company where they were involved. National media heavily covered the case. The family was a major owner of a large Norwegian manufacturing company, but there were other shareholders as well. Initially in the case, the police investigated the father and the mother as well as the daughter and son. A defense lawyer for the daughter successfully helped to keep her out of the case, arguing that the police should stay more focused. Despite the fact that the police found an SMS message on her phone saying “papa”, w'hich obviously meant her father, police detectives accepted her explanation that she called many older male persons, such as her uncle, for “papa”, and the prosecution thus dismissed her case and never prosecuted her in court. The same thing happened to the mother. Only the father and son faced prosecution, and they received convictions to long prison sentences in court.

Similarly, the rich and mighty on the island of Tjome had attorneys listed in Table 18.1 who argued that their clients did not know' how architects, builders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, landscapers, and other professionals applied for and obtained various permits from the municipality. The attorneys argued that the municipality and potentially the police should focus their cases on those who had submitted misleading applications, and who had deviated in practice from their own applications when doing jobs on elite members’ properties on the island. The people who had done the job of creating tennis courts, swimming pools, annexes, park facilities, docks, boathouses, and other surprising elements should be addressed, not to the clients who had hired the people to do the job. It was all about focusing on the relevant offenders, the attorneys argued. This was substance defense in terms of influencing the definition of facts.

Weisburd et al. (1991: 99) formulated in the Yale Series after Mann (1985) how the white-collar defense lawyer is involved at a very early stage:

From the time there is even a hint that a possible white-collar crime is under investigation by legal authorities, individuals suspected of involvement often begin to retain attorneys and to prepare to defend themselves. Early legal strategies may include negotiations with the agencies involved, the seeking of civil or out-of-court resolution of the case, and the trading of information in return for favorable treatment from the prosecutor’s office. Other strategies include defense efforts to limit the scope of the information sought through subpoenaed documents and to curtail the information obtained by the government through search warrants and electronic surveillance.

Bjorn Stordrange, a well-known white-collar lawyer in Norway, defended Acta entrepreneur Fred Anton Ingebrigtsen, who faced accusations of insider trading in the Acta stock by helping family members make illegal profits. Early on, Stordrange expressed in public his frustration with several delays in police investigations (Haakaas, 2009: 2):

When the charge was out last summer, we were told that the investigation would be completed last fall. The time limit was changed to Easter and then again to October this year. Now we are told that it might be completed by Christmas.

Stordrange’s many appearances in the media indicated both active substance defense in the Acta case and symbolic defense, which is a topic later in this chapter. Stordrange was extremely proactive in terms of an organized crime suspicion, where the police wanted to use the Norwegian mafia rule on the case. Stordrange succeeded in convincing the police to drop the organized crime charge against Ingebrigtsen and his crime associates.

Similarly, the rich and mighty on the island of Tjome who had all used the same architect to make their dreams come true distance themselves from any pattern suggested in the media. While they use the neutralization technique of normality, where everyone else did what they did, they also claim that they did not notice what everyone else did other than what the architects and others told them.

More importantly, in their substance defense, attorneys identified a number of mistakes in procedures in the municipality when handling client cases. There were delays, role conflicts between bureaucrats and politicians, and rule complexity that were impossible to understand for the nonprofessional (Lehman et al., 2019). Attorney Frode S. Jorgensen argued for his client Harald Dybsjord that the municipality simply did not have any relevant legal basis for reviewing previous approvals.

In Norway, white-collar attorneys are typically trying to influence police investigations at 0kokrim. 0kokrim is the main source of specialist skills for the police and prosecution authorities in their combat against financial and environmental crime ( 0kokrim is similar to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the United Kingdom. The SFO is an independent government department, operating under the superintendence of the Attorney General. Its purpose is to protect society by investigating and, if appropriate, prosecute those who commit serious or complex fraud, briber)', and corruption and pursuing them and others to recover the proceeds of their crime. For example, on March 11, 2013, the SFO charged three men in a Ponzi-style scheme, and the men appeared at City of London Magistrates Court charged with conspiracy to defraud investors in an alleged investment fraud related to electrical contacts in the hotel sector (www

Crime in the legal sense is about the facts and the laws. If the facts do not match the laws, then Okokrim is reluctant to investigate the case. Very often, also in the environmental crime cases on the island of Tjome, both facts and laws are unclear. The lack of clarity opens up for skilled attorneys to argue that 0kokrim should stay away from the cases. The attorneys present client cases early on in such a way that it seems that the cases do not match the statutes. For example, many Norwegian laws have a limitation period where offenses become obsolete. Attorneys thus argue for a date of wrongdoing that causes the obsolescence clause to apply.

Information control strategy

Attorneys tend to take charge of information control at an early stage. Instead of being at the receiving end of documents from public authorities, the attorney is in a position where the attorney can monitor the flow of information. Of particular interest to the attorney is crucial information that can harm the client’s case. The flow of harmful facts, insights, and knowledge of causes and effects that might become legal evidence with the public authorities is restricted and with the public authorities is problematic for the client, and therefore the attorney attempts to stop the flow.

An element of information control is control over various parties’ explanations. The attorney attempts to keep parties in wrongdoing in line with each other to avoid a blame game between people who had different roles. If the summerhouse owner starts to blame the architect, the architect starts to blame the builder, the builder starts to blame the landscaper, and so on, then information will surface that typically harm all of them. This is in line with the prisoner’s dilemma, in which individuals acting in their own self-interests do not produce the optimal outcome. Parties choose to protect themselves at the expense of other participants. As a result, participants find themselves in a worse state than if they had cooperated with each other.

This is exactly what happened in a different shoreline case in Norway, where the rich and mighty Hanne Madsen received a verdict of 45 days in jail by the court. She had bought a property behind her summerhouse, which was within the 100-m belt as well. On the acquired property, she built an illegal tennis court (DN, 2019). She presented herself as a victim of law violations and blamed the carpenter who eventually received a prison sentence as well. Agder (2019: 20) court of appeals wrote in its verdict:

There is a strong development pressure in the beach zone and people invest very high amounts to gain access to this limited good. Effective enforcement of established rules and guidelines is therefore necessary, and material and serious violations must result in tangible reactions. Often, purely economic reactions will have less deterrent effect.

Strategic substance defense is not necessarily the first defense strategy applied by the attorney in a white-collar case. The defense lawyer’s very first goal can be to prevent public authorities from obtaining information and evidence that is harmful to the client and prevent information from application by the criminal justice systems and other authorities to define and justify a formal charge or sanction.

At this stage, not laws and verdicts are of concern to the attorney. All the attorney is worried about is the flow of information that may transform into potential evidence for municipal sanctions and police investigations (Holmov, 2020b). The attorney’s job is all about preventing public authorities - especially the criminal justice system - from acquiring evidence and making it difficult or even impossible for them to understand pieces of information that they have obtained. It is all about stopping the inquiry at an early stage so that the case is closed. This is the defense lawyer’s information control strategy (Gottschalk, 2014).

Information control implies that documents can remain confidential and hidden, and that clients and witnesses do not talk to officials in public positions. It may also imply that individuals enjoy protection from the press, so that only the lawyer makes statements about the case. Thereby, avoidance of leaking of unfavorable information is more likely. Summerhouse owners in Table 18.1 paid their attorneys to represent themselves in different contexts, including the media. Attorneys then emphasized information that was in favor of their clients, and denied negative accusations and rumors about their clients. As is evident from the table, one attorney in particular, Anne Tellefsen at local law firm Haraldsen Bydal Lie, represented many rich and mighty wrongdoers. She became an expert in handling different authorities and the media for her clients.

If Tjome cases would escalate, then some clients are likely to replace local attorneys with nationally reputable attorneys. However, as long as the idea is to portray themselves as hunted innocent individuals suffering from the local municipality’s actions, then it may seem smart to pay local attorneys. Clients do not want their cases to escalate. Rather, they would like their cases to close so that the cases move into public memory loss. Therefore, an information control strategy is to tell as little as possible to investigative journalists when they call.

Information control strategy finds application ahead of substance defense strategy whenever a white-collar offender first faces accusations in the media, which then cause initial signal alertness among public authorities. If the lawyer is successful in strategic information control, then raw material for legal argumentation remains hidden from public attention and use. The case for sanctions or prosecution deteriorates because important pieces of information not known to the municipality are missing. If an inquiry represents a puzzle, where all pieces have to be in place to see the picture, then both missing pieces and ill-placed pieces will make it difficult to perceive, understand, and interpret the fragmented picture. Inspectors from the municipality may find themselves with a case that is impossible to solve and thus decide to close it.

If a public agency is aware of information that they so far have not been able to collect, the attorney may argue that the requested information is difficult to retrieve and irrelevant for the case. The attorney may argue that the information is confidential, that it is out of date, or that it links to other problematic information. If the public agency already has gathered the information, the attorney may argue that the information does not apply to the specific case because authorities have collected it in an unethical or inadmissible way, such as pirate copying by other citizens, by trespassing to take pictures, or by violation of data protection laws.

These arguments when performing information control have the purpose of influencing the counterpart, either by convincing the public agency it is not a good idea to press for information or press charges or by obtaining a court ruling stating that information should not be made available or should even be returned to the client or the client’s attorney. The attorney communicates procedure rules that support information control to the agency. For example, the attorney may argue that the law prohibits the search for or collection of specific documents. An agency may argue that the law allows it. Nevertheless, public officials must consider whether it is worth the fight with the attorney at this stage.

Strategic information control implies stopping or limiting the flow of information from the client to a public agency, by preventing the public agency access to informants who deny participation in interrogations, by preventing access to other information sources, and by requesting the return of documents not used in the agency (Mann, 1985: 7):

The defense attorney’s aim is to instruct the client or third party holding inculpatory information how to refrain from disclosing it to the government and, if necessary, to persuade or force him to refrain.

Inculpatory, also called incriminating, information is that which shows that a person has been involved in a criminal act. It is self-revealing information by the suspect. Inculpatory information finds application in the criminal justice system as evidence to prove guilt. Exculpatory' information helps prove that a person has not been involved in a criminal act. In the information control strategy', the attorney attempts to stimulate the flow of exculpatory' information and prevent the flow of inculpatory information.

An attorney’s active information control strategy can remain secret to other parties in the case, including the client. Success is often dependent upon the lack of awareness among other parties, including the press.

When an attorney advises a client not to answer certain questions in the next interview and instead answer that he does not know or that he will have to check facts first, the client is subject to information control. The attorney is applying the information control strategy' via the client. The public agency knows nothing about it. One result might be that the inquiry suffers from delay and potential termination.

For example, attorney Eilert Eilertsen for client Nanna Flogstad Sohlberg attempted to delay case handling in the municipality by sending a letter in June 2018:

The case appears to be very comprehensive and complex. For this reason, I need to have access to some documents in the municipality’s possession before I can properly protect the family’s interests.

One reason to delay the case might be to make it obsolete after a number of y'ears. Many statutes in Norwegian law define offenses as outdated after some y'ears. Even if a law violation is not yet outdated, an agency will be reluctant to look into a case that soon will become outdated.

A former police officer, now academic at a university on the UK, expressed the following opinion about white-collar solicitors in a personal email communication:

As an ex-police officer, I anecdotally know that solicitors lie and use all forms of diabolical half-truths to get clients off. They are entrepreneurial in their use of knowledge and of systems to get results. Similar to detectives as entrepreneurs, they are continually working, lurking, and getting results.

Information control does not only occur in white-collar cases. In many other cases, the attorney works to exclude pieces of evidence from agency access and application. The attorney may argue that acquired information in the agency is a result of an illegal manner of information collection, or that information is misleading or irrelevant to the case. What makes white-collar cases so special is that strategic information control is of key importance - it is sometimes the most important activity - successfully to work for the client’s best interests. In other kinds of cases, information control is mainly a tactical maneuver to detract attention or delay the case temporarily.

The information control strategy finds support in the attorney-client privilege as well as the work-product privilege. While the attorney-client privilege shields any information communicated to an attorney, the work-product privilege protects information that represents preparation for litigation (Oh, 2004).

Strategic information control is concerned with the flow of damaging information about the client. An attorney will attempt to prevent a public agency from exploring and exploiting various sources of information collection. Strategic information control implies taking control over information sources that are most likely to receive requests from a public agency. A public agency has many information sources when they inquire into a case, and a defense attorney can influence these sources to a varying extent.

Symbolic defense strategy

A symbol is an object or a phrase that represents an idea, a belief, or an action. Symbol defense is the application of symbols that can benefit the client. An example is the symbol of 20 million Norwegian kroner (about US$2 million) that attorney Anne Tellefsen applied to benefit her client Celestine Clauson. Tellefsen claimed that the amount represented what Clauson had paid for expansion rights when she bought the summerhouse (Holmoy, 2020a). Clauson paid 30 million Norwegian kroner for the summerhouse, but it was only worth 10 million Norwegian kroner without the expansion rights. Clauson’s attorney claimed that the seller had told Clauson that the municipality had granted expansion rights. The claimed expansion approvals included a swimming pool, a tennis court, a larger basement, as well as changes to the fayade of the building. When the whistleblower informed politicians in the municipality that approvals were not according to rules and regulations, the councilor recommended to the politicians to determine permits and approvals as illegitimate and not valid. The reaction from Tellefsen was to send a long letter to the politicians telling that the municipality would be liable for Clauson’s loss of 20 million Norwegian kroner. One of the politicians expressed in the media that she perceived the letter as a threat (Holmoy, 2020c). The threat was symbolic, because the municipality said it is never involved in the private transaction of real estate between a seller and a buyer.

Attorney Henning Harborg on behalf of his client Carl Erik Krefting also applied a symbolic defense of threat. The attorney claimed in a letter to the municipality that the municipality would be liable to compensate his client completely for any economic loss that could occur because of the review of Krefting’s building matters (Blix, 2018). Harborg was also attorney for the widow Turid Varner, but she decided to tear down the terrace and the park facility that blocked the crawl for people, instead of continuing the quarrel with the municipality.

Symbolic defense is concerned with activities that represent defense, but the activities in themselves are no defense. Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, or visual images. When attorney Vibeke Bxra asked for a picture of herself with her client Rune Breili, the visual image published in the local newspaper signaled a hard-working architect who had done nothing wrong.

Symbolic defense is an alternative and supplement to substance defense. Substance and symbolic defense are different arenas where the white-collar attorney can work actively to try to make the public officials close the case. The purpose of symbolic defense is to communicate information and pseudo-legal opinions by means of symbols. Examples of attorney opinions are concerns about unacceptable delays in public administration, low-quality work by public officials, or other issues related to work at public agencies. Several of the attorneys listed in the table for Tjomc applied this symbolic defense strategy'. For example, attorney Stig L. Bech at law firm BAHR wrote a five-page letter to the municipality pointing at all the weaknesses in the local administration. Since the municipality is required to reply to questions phrased in the letter, they had to spend time on their reply rather than on doing casework, which caused a further deterioration in the deadline statistics for the administration.

Complaining about delays in inquiries and administrative work is not substance defense, as the complaint is not expressing a meaning about the wrongdoing and possible sanctioning and punishment. Complaining is a symbolic defense, where the goal is to mobilize sympathy for the white-collar client and to reduce the chances of success for the counterpart.

White-collar attorneys vary in the extent to which they find media coverage a suitable option for symbolic defense. Ideally, each attorney should only have what is best for the client in mind. However, some famous attorneys may have their own media agenda, more or less independent of the current clients they are supposed to help and assist. Irrespective of client and/or attorney agenda, the attorney must be prepared to respond to media inquiries. The client may want to present the story in the press because he or she may believe that press coverage will have a positive impact on personal image as well as proceedings in the public agency and in the criminal justice system. Readers may perceive public agency statements in the press as provocation against the client, who wants to tell a different story.

Two attorneys in Table 18.1 represented themselves, but they presented themselves as attorneys for clients that happened to be themselves. Attorney Ole Andresen complained about the reversal of decision in the municipality. He wanted to have a swimming pool and build an annex, but the municipality had withdrawn the permit. Attorney Ole Borge also represented himself. Tjome municipality had ordered the removal of his suspension bridge and steel bars. He complained and tried to compare his case with other cases where approvals were still valid.

While the administration in the municipality handled complaints and reviewed permits and withdrawn permits, several attorneys skipped contacting the administration and sent mail to politicians directly instead. Typically, few days before a political body was to meet, the attorney sent a letter as an email attachment to each member of the political body. In that way, the attorney hoped to short- circuit the process in the administration. Tellefsen’s letter on behalf of Clauson is an example. Another example is the rich heir Gunnar Fredrik Selvaag who wrote a personal letter to a political committee in the municipality with the help of his attorney Mari Helen Gulsvik.

A frequent theme in the symbolic defense by attorneys was tennis courts and swimming pools. Some cases concerned the denial of permits to build tennis courts and swimming pools. Other cases concerned removal of tennis courts and swimming pools that had not received appropriate permits. Attorney Christian H.P. Reusch was engaged in a former case for summerhouse owner Kristina M. Wilhelmsen, while attorney Nils Hansson was engaged in a latter case for summerhouse owner Hans Ole Helling.

A common approach in symbolic defense is to portray wrongdoing as completely insignificant while the reaction by the public agency is abuse of power. An example is attorney Martin Storen for his client Lars Hellik Strom. Storen wrote in his letter “the municipality may refrain from prosecuting violations if conditions are of minor importance”.

The symbolic defense by attorney Anne Tellefsen on behalf of her client Celestine Clauson was interesting as the summerhouse case evolved in the media. When an investigative journalist interviewed the seller, that is the previous owner, Stein Kittelsen, he denied ever to have applied for permits to have a swimming pool and tennis court (Holmoy, 2020d: 8):

We sold it, as it is, not with any permits at all. We think the property is worth around 30-35 million kroner, says Kittelsen.

When Celestine Clauson in 2015 bought the summerhouse in Nesholm road 67 on the island of Tjomc from the family Kittelsen, who had owned the place for generations, she was only 18 years old. Her father, Conrad Clauson, was the real owner. He had made a fortune as a broker when he worked for Credit Suisse First Boston in London, where he exploited bank clients for his personal benefit (Aliuja, 2005):

Credit Suiesse First Boston has started legal proceedings against a former member of staff after he failed to repay a $750,000 loan. CSFB has launched the claim, which was filed in the UK high court in February, against Conrad Clauson, a Norwegian who worked as a private client broker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, which became part of Credit Suisse in August 2000.

Clauson had placed his fortune in a trust in the tax haven Virgin Island (Berglihn et al., 2007). In the Tjomc case, he first paid architect Breili to successfully apply for permits in the municipality. Then he paid attorney Tellefsen to fight for the illegal permits by symbolic defense (Holmoy, 2020c).


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Ahuja, V. (2005). CSFB sues former broker over $750,000 loan, Financial News,, published August 8.

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DN (2019). Ny dom kan skremme pengesterke hytteeiere fra ulovlig bygging - Ny dom gir god hjelp til kommuner som vil stoppe ulovlige byggearbeider i strandsonen (New court sentence might scare money-rich cottage owners from illegal construction building - New court sentence provides good help to municipalities who want to stop illegal construction work in the beach zone), Daily Norwegian Business Newspaper Dagens N&ringsliv, Saturday, September 21, page 2.

Dugstad, L. and Skaalmo, G. (2017). Slik fikk han de rikes hytter godkjent pa Tjome (This way he got the rich people’s huts approved on Tjome), Daily Norwegian Business Newspaper Dagens N&ringsliv,, published September 29.

Gottschalk, P. (2014). Financial Crime and Knowledge Workers: An Empirical Study of Defense Lawyers and White-Collar Criminals, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Haakaas, E. (2009). Acta-saken kan smuldre bort (The Acta case can mold away), Daily Norwegian Newspaper Aftenposten, November 27, Business section, page 2.

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Holmoy, E. (2020a). Advokaten mener hytteeierens tillatelser er verdt 20 millioner kroner. I dag mistet hun alle (The attorney claims the cottage owner’s permit is worth 20 million kroner. Today she lost everything), Daily Local Norwegian Newspaper Tonsbergs Blad,, published May 6.

Holmoy, E. (2020b). Tror at ogsa noen hytteeiere blir siktet (Believes that also some cottageowners will be charged), Daily Local Norwegian Newspaper Tonsbergs Blad, Thursday, May 14, page 4.

Holmoy, E. (2020c). Advokaten forsokte a pavirke politikerne: -Jeg opplever dette som et trusselbrev (The attorney attempted to influence the politicians: -I perceive this as a threat letter), Daily Local Norwegian Newspaper Tonsbergs Blad, www.tb .no, published May 14.

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