Friday, January 28

Lawsuit against Handelsbanken: – It has been directly dangerous to health

– Handelsbanken in Stavanger has come to terms with me, and deprived me of great values. The bank’s business operations are highly reprehensible, and I will document that in this lawsuit, said Ingrid Ottesen in Sør-Rogaland District Court on Monday.

Ingrid Ottesen is not a lawyer, but her financial situation means that she will pursue the case herself.

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It is time for a proper dishwashing when Acta-convicted Fred A. Ingebrigtsen’s estranged wife Ingrid Ottesen has sued Handelsbanken in court and demands around NOK 30 million.

She will try to document that Handelsbanken in Stavanger treated her so badly that the bank must both forgive debt and compensate for her financial losses.

– Actually, the financial does not mean anything to me. I was offered a financial settlement now before the trial. But the bank is not willing to admit that they made a mistake, and I do not accept that, says Ingrid Ottesen to Aftenbladet / E24.

She does not want this to happen to anyone else.

– It has been some tough years. It has been directly dangerous to health.

Read on E24 +

Ingrid Ottesen meets Handelsbanken in court

Henning Harborg, a lawyer in the law firm Thommessen, is Handelsbanken’s lawyer in the district court.

Leads the case himself

Ingrid Ottesen is not a lawyer.

– My financial situation means that I will conduct this case myself, without a lawyer, she said when the trial started.

She currently has a debt of approx. NOK 20 million to Handelsbanken. She is the general manager of the company Bjørnson Organisasjonspsykologene and earns approx. one million kroner. She has no taxable wealth.

The trial, which started on Monday and will last for eight days, primarily concerns a settlement agreement that Ingrid Ottesen and Fred Ingebrigsten made with Handelsbanken in 2011. Ottesen believes that the agreement is so unreasonable that it should be set aside or changed. The legal basis, she believes, is section 36 of the Contracts Act. There is an exception rule in the Contracts Act which states that an agreement can be set aside in whole or in part or amended if it would seem “unreasonable or contrary to good business practice to enforce it”.

Several witnesses will meet, including Fred Ingebrigtsen, who has now completed his sentence, and current and former bank governors at Handelsbanken.

District Court Judge Monica Furustøl and co-judge Kjell Morten Jekteberg will judge in the case between Ingrid Ottesen and Handelsbanken.

Would avoid trial

– I have done everything in my power to avoid a lawsuit, but I have not succeeded, and therefore we are here today, Ottesen said in his introduction to the district court.

She told briefly about the shock and chaos surrounding the imprisonment and the trial against her then husband Fred A. Ingebrigtsen back in 2008.

– But this is neither about the Acta case nor my personal burden. It is about Handelsbanken’s poor treatment of me as a customer.

Ottesen also said that she prefers to be referred to as separated, and not as ex-wife.

A key point for her is that she, as a non-professional and “weak” party, was almost run over by the bank both before and after the settlement agreement was entered into in 2011.

She pointed out what she believes is new information and which substantiates that the settlement is unreasonable.

Dispute over property

The couple Ingebrigtsen / Ottesen owned a magnificent property in Spain when the Acta scandal broke. Ottesen is very critical of what happened with the sale of this property, which was valued at more than NOK 71 million. In the autumn of 2009, a sales agreement was signed with Johs. Lunde to buy the property for around NOK 70 million. The sale was never completed, and Lunde was declared bankrupt in 2011. Today, IKM founder Ståle Kyllingstad owns the place after buying it for NOK 40 million in 2013.

She was also involved in a so-called forward contract which she signed in 2007. It is a type of contract in which a bet is made on the future share price. In her case, she undertook to buy Acta shares for NOK 30 million at a certain price per share three months ahead. If the share price falls, you lose on such a contract, while you get a gain when the price increases. But the Acta price fell like a rock, and Ottesen lost around 20 million kroner.

One example

– This is one example of the bank taking action against me, and that it had very serious consequences. The forward contract was extended twice, and it happened completely without the bank being in contact with me.

Ottesen also believes that the bank made several formal mistakes, including that the bank failed to inform her thoroughly enough when the forward contract was established.

Henning Harborg, a lawyer at the law firm Thommesen, is Handelsbanken’s lawyer.

His opening lecture starts on Tuesday morning. He tells Aftenbladet / E24 that Ottesen’s financial claim totals around NOK 30 million.

In his final post he writes this:

“Ottesen and Ingebrigtsen’s lawyers estimated the total financial value of the settlement at between 60 and 100 million, and have on several occasions expressed to the press that they were very satisfied with the settlement. In the bank’s view, there is nothing in the «content of the agreement» that indicates that the settlement agreement can be revised, cf. the Contracts Act § 36 ».

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