Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
‘Brunstad Christian Church leaders enriched themselves at the expense of cult devotees’
4 November 2016, 19:06
The two top leaders of the international cult, the Norwegian Brethren [Brunstad Christian Church. In Norway aka ‘Smith’s Venner‘. After Johan Oscar Smith, founder of the church. The present leader, Kåre J. Smith, is his grandson] have enriched themselves for many years. This happened at the expense of the approximately 40,000 members of the cult in 65 countries. That reports NRC Handelsblad daily.
The duo manages an international network of more than 450 companies and foundations. Various tax havens play an important role in this.
The two, leader Kåre J. Smith and managing director Bernt Aksel Larsen, shared the loot with their relatives and friends. NRC Handelsblad and the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv base their reports on 50 gigabytes of documents and emails.
These were seized in March by the FIOD [Dutch fiscal anti-fraud service] from the Dutch church official Jonathan van der L. who was closely involved in the financial operations of the Norwegian Brethren and their foundations and corporations. The Dutchman previously worked as a detective of the FIOD.
The file shows, according to the NRC, that the Dutch brother was not only a key figure who played an important role in the Dutch section of the cult, but also worldwide. The documents which the newspapers have frequently are about how one can pay as little tax as possible.
The millions of euros that the donations and the volunteer work of the cult members, including children, yielded, went for years to BCC [Brunstad Christian Church] Financial in Cyprus. That company owned in 2014 about 86 million euros.
That money only partly benefited the religious organizations of the Norwegian Brethren, writes the NRC. Children of the two leaders, for example, could get loans on very favorable terms, with which they sometimes bought shares.
Leaders Smith and Larsen got a millions of euros loan for a business that they have together. That was not reimbursed in part. In 2015, they made scores of millions of euros with the sale of the German internet shop Lampenwelt. Which was donated to the Norwegian Brothers, but ended up in the hands of the two leaders.