Herman J. Berge
Dr.Holms vei 17/D
Via facsimile: +47 67 55 65 57- +47 22 14 92 66
Dear Herman Berge,
I refer to your numerous letters and faxes addressed to my mother Mrs. Amelia Riis, to Mr. Escaut, to Mr. H. Rey, where you claim compensation for – initially 1,8 mill NKr, then 2,5 mill. NKr, and finally 27.927.140 Norwegian Kroner ( Euro 3.325.000 !) in the estate of my deceased father, Mr. Einar Riis.
My mother has asked me to help her in responding to your allegations. This letter should nevertheless be regarded only as a supplement to the response from Mrs. Amelia Riis’s lawyer/s.
When I contacted you in
In addition to this we are frankly quite dismayed by your legal “interpretations”. In our opinion, you are submitting claims and allegations that have little or no basis in the factual and legal circumstances in this matter.
My family’s attitude towards you has always been marked by fairness, correctness, openness, and even friendship, even after you started what must be regarded – in our eyes – as a somewhat “bizarre” behavior in the beginning of Sept. 2006. Your inexplicable attitude change towards us, as well as the reasons for your persevering conduct is to us still unintelligible, but we are gradually and unwillingly forming a completely different picture of your real intents behind your past years’ engagement with our family.
We feel you have exploited the psychological as well as the practical difficulties our family suffered after my father’s death on May 30th, and my mother has already indicated to you she has felt your conduct as being “threatening” and a form for extortion.
Your actions prior to dad’s death, the content of your subsequent claims for fees, costs and compensation, the way you, in our opinion, have manipulated my mother into signing several statements in your favor, shows that these so-called “agreements” and “Wills” that you are referring to, in our opinion, must be regarded invalid or illegal.
We are now under the impression that you have used several techniques of manipulation and misguidance to put yourself in a position where you have been able to misuse and exploit my father’s trust in you for your own personal economical benefit.
You have, in our opinion, isolated my parents from obtaining any other outside legal advice and persuaded them into believing that you were the only “savior” of the Riis family’s wealth. During this time period you have started new legal claims and suits leading to nowhere, thus increasing considerably our family’s costs and expenses.
The so-called “agreements” and “Wills” you are basing your claim on must in our opinion under all circumstances be regarded as invalid and/or illegal as a result of misrepresentation and manipulation of facts, exploitation of delusions, misguidance on your side prior to when they were entered into. It is further our opinion that these so-called “agreements” must be regarded as “unfair” based upon the circumstances behind them.
With reference to
your letter of
It is also our opinion that you at this time understood that Mr. Einar Riis - as a result of several years of frustration over unsatisfying results in the Norwegian courts – was in fact in such a state of mental frustration where he easily could be manipulated by a person pretending to agree to most of his statements, even though the evidence for such statements and opinions either was lacking completely or was quite poor.
Based upon the wordings both of the so-called “agreements” of 1998, 2000, and 2001 we cannot see that you were entitled to any of the payments that you received in 2003 from my father and my mother. My father was in our opinion furthermore led to believe that this over-generous payment of 5.200.000 NOK would assure him and our family competent legal assistance in years to come. Your attempts to blame my father for you, not being able to obtain the necessary licenses to become an attorney in Norway, and becoming a “persona non grata” in Norway is in our opinion also highly questionable.
The amount paid to you in 2003 (5.200.000 NOK) – for what we feel was another lawyer’s work – must in our opinion at best be regarded as a completely discretionary gift.
During 2005 my father suffered a
couple of strokes and was as you know hospitalized in
To this it must be added that it has been your own choice to work on a no cure no pay basis
When it comes to the calculation of your “claim for compensation” in an amount of NOK 27.9 millions, to pretend to have worked for the last 8 years for 7 days a week, for 5 or even 15 hours a day all year, cannot be considered serious. No specification for this “work” has ever been submitted by you, neither have my mother nor have my father agreed to any of the hourly “lawyer”-rates that you are claiming, nor are the results for this “work” so evident; on the contrary.
In our opinion you have mislead my mother and father into pursuing several different cases that have lead to nothing else than an increase of costs and expenses for them, and proceedings partly also against your own client’s will. Based on this, we question again whether you were pursuing your own or your client’s interests.
It is our opinion that the payment of 5.200.000 NOK under all circumstances must be regarded as a so-called “testamentary disposition” that would have required a valid Will to have any legal justification.
To the knowledge of my sister, my mother and myself; there is no such valid Will in existence. You have evidently previously never considered such papers you are now referring to as being “Wills” yourself, since you have never mentioned them to any of us, or to Maitre Rey’s Notary office.
As far as we can see, none of the requirements set out in the Norwegian Inheritance Act with regard to what documents and what formalities needed to be executed before a document can be regarded as a valid Will have been fulfilled. These documents you refer to as “Will” have in our opinion no legal basis whatsoever and you are not entitled to make any claims based upon them. You should also be familiar with the fact that the testator under Norwegian Law at any stage may decide to amend or alter his or her Will before his or her death and that a person that is mentioned in a valid Will, cannot issue a claim against the estate or the other heirs based upon the fact that such valid Will later was amended.
Having said this, (i) the mere fact that you seem to have received an amount of NOK 5,2 millions for work that in reality was not conducted by you, (ii) that such disposition would have required a valid Will and (iii) the fact that such Will was not in existence at the time of payment, it is our opinion that you are under an obligation to repay an amount of NOK 5,2 millions to the estate of my father. Of course I should mention that there should be calculated interests on this amount.
We are familiar with the letter
As far as we can see, you have received full compensation for this time period. Both to my sister, my self and to mother it also seems as if you during the subsequent period several times have tried to persuade, pressure and/or manipulating my father into granting you additional economical benefits, without succeeding to obtain a firm agreement of such salary.
I would also like to point out to you that the so-called “employment status” that you at some times have been referring to, as far as we can see only have been a pro-forma arrangement constructed by you so that you should be able to represent my parents in front of the Norwegian Courts. At this time you were lacking the rights to appear and represent my parents in front of the Norwegian Courts, since you were not and still are not a fully qualified lawyer under Norwegian Law.
Since both you and my parents were all quite familiar with the fact that this “employment status” was mere fictional and created ad hoc by you for the purpose of misleading the Norwegian Courts into allowing you to represent my parents, we can not see that you can base any legal rights what-so-ever upon this so-called “status”. Under no circumstances can we see that there has existed any Contract of Employment between my father or my mother on the one side and you on the other side. If it is your intention to claim that such a contract existed, we ask that you immediately submit this contract in original.
Based upon this it is our opinion that you have no claim for compensation. On the contrary, we feel the payment you received in 2003 of NOK 5,2 millions should be repaid to the estate.
Regarding your facsimile dated; October 24 to Mr. Henry Rey, informing him about the existence of “another son” neither my mother, nor my sister, nor the undersigned, have any knowledge of such a son. We strongly suspect this is a further attempt to delay the notary procedures, and we ask you to produce evidence of the existence of said “son”.
Regarding your facsimile dated October 30, 2006 to my mother, please be informed that both Amelia, my sister and I am of the firm opinion that both the “statement” dated September 2, 2006 and the so-called “statement of indemnification” dated August 25, 2006 must be regarded as invalid. The reason for this is that these statements were made under “duress”.
It is definitely our opinion that you also have mislead my mother into believing that she owed you such an amount as referred to in the above statements. This belief was caused by you misrepresenting facts with regard to what amount was due to you under the so-called previous “agreements” and what amounts had been paid to you by then.
Based upon recent information it also seems that you have failed to comply with certain legal deadlines regarding some of the cases that you were supposedly handling, resulting in loss of our rights. We are considering claiming damages for the costs and expenses your “legal assistance” have caused.
You have in numerous occasions in your letters referred to Mrs. Amelia Riis’ “withdrawal of authorizations to act on her behalf as a “breach of contract”. We are of the opinion that your whole conduct from the beginning of Sept. - when you “disappeared” soon after having obtained the mentioned Sept. 2nd statement - to your faxes sent on Sept. 10th to M. Rey, to the bank, with the purpose of halting the Notary Act in Monaco fully justify such decision. If a “breach” of anything should here be mentioned, we suggest you read your own letter where you state you “cannot work” with Mrs. Amelia Riis anymore. We would also like to remind you, that just after my father’s funeral you assured us that no legal deadlines were coming up prior to January 2007. This proved not to be true and, whether by willful misconduct or by negligence, you must definitely be regarded as “in default” out of this perspective as well.
With reference to the several million Norwegian Kroner (probably an amount in between 2,5 and 3 million NOK!) you “persuaded” my father and my mother into investing in a shipping project of a friend of yours, we have asked you already to forward all information pertaining to these family assets. Based upon your latest comments in regard to these projects, we fear that you already regard these as your own “investments”. We are therefore also obliged to take reservations about the nature and the managing of these “investments”, until further investigated.
Please be informed that unless we have received confirmation within November 30th, 2006 that you waive any so-called “claim for compensation” of NOK 27.9 millions or any other sums, and the claim following the Sept. 02nd 2006 statement by Mrs. Amelia Riis, we will consider starting proceedings against you for repayment of all sums paid to you in the past, including the above named NOK 5,2 millions NOK plus interests. You will further have to expect that additional claims for damages and compensations may be submitted to you as a result of your actions in this matter.
In concluding, I am obliged to say that several occasions have in my opinion been lost to try to solve this matter in an amicable way. I am always open for honest, serious, and constructive approaches, but this will not prevent our family from taking the necessary steps to protect its interests.
On behalf of my mother I must again
ask you to stop harassing her with any further letters and faxes. Until further
notice all correspondence in this matter should be addressed to my mother’s
lawyer Mr. Escaut in