November 13, the Finnish state channel YLE recycled allegations that have been used for several years in blackmail, threats and smear campaigns against BCC. The local churches’ cash pooling in BCC Financial is a recurring theme, despite the fact that everything is answered for. We have explained the mechanisms around loans, the types of loans, and who received loans from BCC Financial, and documented that all loans have been repaid in several articles on this website.
“Kåre J. Smith has never received a single euro from BCC Financial. It is absurd to claim that people who have contributed more than NOK 200 million in donations should need to leech off the community,” says Trond Eivind Johnsen, board member of the BCC Federation.
Sources with no credibility
Since 2016, Oscar Floor has acted as a source, working to spread negative publicity about BCC’s finances. He established a close collaboration with Van der Linden as soon as the fraud became known, and shortly after the latter was released from custody, Oscar Floor set up his Facebook page, where he has spread distorted information mixed with lies and conspiracies against BCC.
According to NRK.no, Floor has contributed to a commissioned, international smear campaign against the religious community. In addition, he actively participated in discussing false and criminalizing accusations that named BCC leaders as child molesters.
“It is frightening that such people are quoted in serious editorial media. An example of the lengths Oscar Floor is willing to go to, is his lie in this episode about tax evasion, just to criminalize our church,” says Berit Hustad Nilsen, Head of Communications at the BCC Federation, and emphasizes:
“BCC will never give in to false allegations. We are now working to get an overview and assess whether it is common press ethics in Finland to publish just about anything without giving the opportunity for a simultaneous rebuttal.”
Another source claims that he has not received answers to his questions about BCC’s finances, which BCC strongly disagrees with:
“The central board had an extensive and well-documented dialogue with the person in question, and processed his request for a new investigation,” says Johnsen.
Several rounds of internal and external reviews had already been conducted, all without negative findings. The central board concluded that there was no need, but referred to member democracy, with every member having the opportunity to present issues at the annual meeting and being heard if there is a majority in favor of it. As far as BCC is aware, the person in question did not use this opportunity while he was still a member.
Thorough investigations show no objectionable conditions
For several years, BCC has published a number of articles on our website about our relationship with BCC Financial, and how it was a tool that helped many local churches get a return on the money they were saving for future use. See the full list of links below, as well as the fact box.
“Our relationship with BCC Financial’s operations has been thoroughly investigated and highlighted, including in several different reports and via a broad investigation by the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, without any objectionable conditions or offenses being uncovered,” says Johnsen, adding: “So now it’s time for the media to stop reporting claims to the contrary.
BCC has also contributed interviews and documentation to the book recently written by Dag Christensen. The book shows a frightening picture of how the press, by failing to be critical of its sources, can manage to turn reality completely upside down.
Facts about our relationship with BCC Financial
- After the financial crisis in 2008, BCC’s Assembly of Representatives took measures to strengthen the finances of its local churches.
- It was recommended to build up equity for future local projects. Forecasts showed growth in both membership and activity, thus creating a need for building extensions in most local churches.
- This recommendation developed into a fundraising campaign with its own TV program, the Brunstad Magazine, which announced the monthly fundraising status. Local churches began competing to help achieve their goals.
- It became an international competition when local churches from countries with high GDP became involved, wanting to participate in the endeavor.
- Soon a considerable amount of capital was raised in the many local church branches, and the funds placed in Norwegian banks for a few years.
- Fundraising leaders from various local churches exchanged experiences, and one of the ideas that came out of this led to the establishment of a cash pooling arrangement, BCC Financial Ltd.
- Various jurisdictions for cash pooling were considered. Cyprus had a functioning regulatory framework and was the most cost-effective..
- This was not a bank, but a coordinating link to give churches with surplus capital a return, while allowing organizations with funding needs to access funds.
- The company was liquidated in 2014, as most churches wanted to withdraw their funds and lend them to the construction project at Brunstad instead.
- The liquidation process was completed in 2016. By then all local churches had received their money back, and the profits from the cash pooling business were distributed to projects that benefited our community.
- Today most of the local churches have lent their money to the Brunstad Foundation as financing for the building project. Some churches have chosen to use their funds for their own local projects instead.
About Brunstad Christian Church
- Origins from 1898
- Beliefs and preaching are based on the Bible. Known for promoting the message of sanctification
- •Is the only Norwegian church with an international presence
- Has extensive work for children and youth, and a high proportion of young members
- Finances are mainly based on voluntary donations, and BCC has no paid preachers
- First form of organization in the 1930s, and established bylaws for the Norwegian activities in 1993. Was constituted as an international federation in 2021
- Key focus areas: mission, media, events, music, youth program and funds