DOI: 10.1093/police/paae015 ISSN: 1752-4512

Deterrence effects despite lack of prosecution: Punishment outcomes of white-collar crime investigations in Norway

Petter Gottschalk
  • Law


The national authority Økokrim was established several decades ago to become a policing centre of excellence in the investigation and prosecution of economic and environmental crime in Norway that is especially concerned with white-collar and corporate crime. This article focusses on deterrence effects from Økokrim investigations that never lead to prosecution or conviction. The research raises the issue of the use of law enforcement publicity regarding investigations of potential offenders, often long before possible convictions. The issue is explored by the press releases from the Norwegian body. The apparent shift in strategy and practice at Økokrim might be explained by the devastating evaluation of the national authority some years ago. The evaluation was initiated after the Transocean court scandal where all defendants were acquitted of all charges. Deterrence strategy by investigations implies that Økokrim passes negative consequences on suspects who never have a chance to defend themselves in court. In jurisdictions with criminal justice, a suspect should always have the benefit of the doubt. Conviction should only occur when guilt is proven beyond any reasonable and sensible doubt. Until eventually proven guilty, a suspect is supposed to be considered innocent. This is a basic principle of justice.

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