Norwegian Sentenced as Soviet Spy : Ex-Diplomat Given 20 Years for Passing Information to KGB

From Reuters

Former Norwegian diplomat Arne Treholt on Thursday was sentenced to 20 years in prison for spying for the Soviet KGB security police from 1974 to 1984.

Prosecutors said his work included getting information for Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko when he was scheduled to visit the United States in 1980 and 1981.

Treholt, 42, who walked into the courtroom smiling and waving to former colleagues, bowed his head as Judge Astrid Rynning announced the sentence, the equivalent of life under Norwegian law.

Western diplomats said the severity of the sentence reflected the damage Treholt caused during his 10 years of spying.


40 Accusations

The eight charges, in a 5,000-word indictment against Treholt, contained more than 40 specific accusations, ranging from passing North Atlantic Treaty Organization nuclear-policy secrets to disclosing detailed troop movements and timetables in times of East-West tension.

Treholt had access to these secrets during his career as a junior government minister, a diplomat at the United Nations, a student at the Norwegian Defense College and as head of the press section at the Oslo Foreign Ministry.

The seven-member court said Treholt received a total of $112,000 from the KGB and an Iraqi secret agent for spying and that money appeared to be his main motive.


Presenting its 25,000-word judgment after the 10-week trial, the court said part of Treholt’s espionage work while he was at the United Nations was aimed at briefing Gromyko.

Treholt was accused of passing on the contents of a letter President Reagan was to send to then-Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev on the occasion of planned talks between Gromyko and Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.

The information allegedly included the purpose of the letter and how it was viewed within NATO.

The judgment, an obligatory part of Norwegian law, took nine hours to read. Parts deemed too sensitive to be published were read behind closed doors.


The three full-time judges and four laymen said the damage Treholt caused to Norwegian security was so great that it would cost the country several times its annual defense budget to repair.

Arrested in 1984

Treholt was arrested in January, 1984, at Oslo’s airport with a briefcase full of confidential documents, on his way to meet Gen. Gennady Titov of the KGB.

Titov was responsible for all Soviet espionage work in Scandinavia, the court said. It added that Treholt probably passed on a great number of Norway’s defense plans in considerable detail.


The information he was carrying when arrested included minutes from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on a Stockholm disarmament conference and from a meeting of NATO’S special political committee in Brussels.

During his trial, Treholt, the son of former Cabinet minister Thorstein Treholt, pleaded innocent to spying charges but acknowledged meeting with the Soviets, allegedly to improve East-West relations.