Norway is the worst country in Western Europe after Belgium when it comes to underground crime.
The underground economy in Norway comprises NOK 420 billion, or 14 percent of the gross GDP, according to a recent report by ATKearney on behalf of the credit card company Visa.
This number makes Norway one of the worst countries in Western Europe when it comes to underground economy.
The Norwegian Association of Lawyers is concerned about the development.
"We cannot know what the actual numbers are for the underground economy. That's the nature of it. The money is hidden," says the President of the association, Curt A.Lier.
Most likely the number is between a previous estimate of NOK 150 billion, and the NOK 420 billion estimated in the latest report, he explains. However, if the latest report is correct, the underground economy will be the size of the oil fund within the next ten years.
The Norwegian Association of Lawyers has developed a report about the fight against financial crime. An internal working group with people from the police and government agencies such as Customs, tax authorities and NAV (the Norwegian Welfare Administration) have participated. The report points out the growth of mafia-like networks in Norway, as well as several methods used to launder money.
The report underlines the importance of confiscating gains from criminal activity.
"The deeper the money can infiltrate into the legal economy, the harder it will be to track its source," the report concludes.