A suitcase full of cash

One of the biggest stories in the Norwegian newspapers this week has been the revelations in a book, written by an ex-journalist at the weekly tabloid magazine Se og Hør, of underhand tactics at the publication in gaining access to information on celebrities. Paying police for tips, obtaining banking information, that kind of thing. I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by this, I’m certainly not but I have been surprised by a side story attached to this news.
The sister of the heir to the Norwegian throne, Marthe Louise – actually she’s the elder but I guess Norwegian equality laws didn’t stretch as far as to hand the throne to her – is married to a writer called Ari Behn. On publication of the Se og Hør revelations, Mr Behn took it upon himself to e-mail one of the newspapers here to verify that he was aware of the magazine having access to his personal banking information back in 2002 when he married Martha Louise. As a result he changed banks in 2004.
Apparently, when the newlyweds set off on honeymoon, they took with the them a “suitcase full of cash” as they knew that Se og Hør could trace them through use of their bank and credit cards and obviously they didn’t want to be hounded by hacks and paparazzi as they travelled, and they were far from keen on having their spending habits made available for public consumption. Fair enough. Mr Behn himself suggests that he and his bride may have appeared to strangers like a couple on the run, paying only cash for flights, and that now it makes a good story. He gives the impression that the couple hadn’t made definite travel plans but took whatever flight they fancied at the time.
There are several things I don’t get about this story though, which has left me with more questions than answers.
Firstly, why did Mr Behn wait until 2004 to change banks? I mean for goodness sake. If you knew someone at your bank was leaking confidential information about you to anyone, let alone the press, wouldn’t you shut your accounts and go elsewhere, loans and all, immediately? Secondly, one doesn’t have to use credit cards from your bank. What’s wrong with American Express and the countless other credit card companies Mr Behn surely could have used? Also, what the hell was wrong with traveller’s cheques? Weren’t they worried about being robbed? And what about the cash – was it Norwegian Kroner which wouldn’t be much use outside Norway or did they have a selection of euros or dollars stuffed into money belts around their waists?
A case full of cash indeed. Hopefully Se og Hor will run a story soon to clarify these details and put my inquisitiveness to rest.

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