BCC REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF SECRECY AND PERSONAL ENRICHMENT


This week, NRK Brennpunkt published a documentary in which they made false allegations that Kåre J. Smith and Bernt Aksel Larsen have enriched themselves at the expense of  BCC and its members. Today, an article followed up these allegations and continued the speculation of secrecy and financial disarray.


Even though BCC has repeatedly denied allegations that Smith and Larsen have taken money from donations for themselves, and released documentation of this, the claims have been reasserted, both directly and indirectly. One of the most important sources of these allegations is himself charged with committing fraud to the value of NOK 80 million.

The BCC Board represents almost 9,000 members. These are members who have shown historic generosity both to BCC and in their local churches over the past 10 years. In addition, BCC has received gifts from fellow believers and Christian organizations in other countries.

BCC has managed our donations and finances as follows:

  • All operating costs are approved by at least two people.
  • All loan applications are first reviewed by the Board and then disbursement is approved by at least two people.
  • All accounting records are audited by PwC – an internationally recognized auditing company – and then then approved by BCC’s Assembly of Representatives.
  • As a response to media focus, PwC has conducted two separate audits of BCC’s finances without finding anything criticizable. The audits were conducted by professionals other than those who have audited our accounts – with focus on transactions involving our leaders and other people with positions of trust in BCC, or who are otherwise linked to BCC.
  • We have a good overview over the people and companies who are linked to BCC either by us or others, and with whom we have transactions, which includes Kåre J. Smith, Bernt Aksel Larsen, and companies owned by them.
  • Økokrim (the Norwegian Financial Crimes Division) has obtained and, over a long period, audited all of our bank transactions from 2010 to December 2019.

PwC has submitted faultless audit reports for every year. Økokrim ended its investigation with a full exoneration of the allegations that Smith and Larsen have misappropriated funds from BCC.

READ: A clearance of all suspicion from the Norwegian financial crime authorities

Loans from BCC Financial

BCC and local churches placed their collected funds in BCC Financial for a period. BCC Financial has provided loans to Smith and Larsen on market terms and based on BCC’s needs for office buildings and for providing support to a local church with financial problems.

In addition, many years ago Larsen granted the use of his name as an owner in connection with a conference center being built in India. Loans to India were subsequently formally entered in Larsen’s name, but disbursed directly to the conference center in India. BCC’s auditor was informed of this. Larsen never earned anything on the project in India. All loans are documented as repaid with a full settlement of both interest and principal values.

  • BCC Financial’s accounts have been made available for all the local churches, including lending overviews.
  • BCC Financial’s accounts have been audited by Deloitte and PwC.
  • The only loan BCC Financial made a loss on was one to HMC in the Netherlands, which was defrauded of NOK 80 million by the source NRK Brennpunkt has used to make its allegations about misappropriation of funds in BCC.
  • The Administration of BCC Financial was conducted in Cyprus, but all funds were in Norwegian banks.
  • All other loans have been fully settled, and BCC Financial was liquidated with a profit which was donated to objectives benefitting our faith community.
  • BCC Financial was not owned or controlled by BCC but was established by an international group of local congregations.

READ: Where are the savings from the local churches?

Watertight audit and control routines

BCC has the same controls as Norwegian banks, listed companies and other organizations, with division of labor, auditing, and internal checks. Society trusts these control systems in all other organizations. In addition, the highest policing authority for financial matters has scrutinized all of our disbursements for the past 10 years, without any findings. BCC does not see how this can be documented any better.

We do not understand why NRK Brennpunkt does not want to reference this information, but rather speculate and cast suspicion on Smith and Larsen by disregarding the important facts and relying on storytelling from sources accused of committing criminal acts.

As a Board, we are proud to represent BCC, our values, and the result of the selfless work our many thousands of members stand for. This also applies to Kåre J. Smith and Bernt Aksel Larsen, who have our full trust and support.

As a Board, we are proud to represent BCC, our values, and the result of the selfless work our many thousands of members stand for. This also applies to Kåre J. Smith and Bernt Aksel Larsen, who have our full trust and support.

Berit Hustad Nilsen, Chairwoman of the Board
Finn Åge Ødegård, Board Member
Trond Eivind Johnsen, Board Member

Share :
Related articles