Audun Lysbakken said at a press conference yesterday that he is resigning as minister.
In January 2012, Dagbladet reported that Lysbakken in November 2011 had secretly funneled €66,000 of public funds from his ministry to two groups, one of which was the Socialist Youth, his own party’s youth organization which received €20,500, without making the process public. At first Lysbakken through his State secretary reported that this was a “completely normal procedure” for allocation of funds, he later apologized unreservedly calling the affair an “error of judgment” on his behalf and promising a “full review” on past transactions. After more scrutiny however, it emerged that he in another incident had used 40.000€ of public money to fund and promote a controversial book project by two known party affiliates. The parliament of Norway has signaled that it will open a public inquiry into Lysbakkens management of his department. As a result of the affair, he resigned as minister on 5 March 2012.
His conduct was condemned by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International which labeled his actions “political corruption”, this was echoed by prof. Peter Gottschalk who pointed out that Lysbakken was in position to expect favours in return for the funds.
At the time of the revelation, Lysbakken was campaigning for reelection within the Socialist Left Party and initially questions was being raised due to the recipients of the funds having close ties with the same party.