Norwegian lawyer comes a cropper in Machiavellian domain name swindle

A lawyer at Pricewater-houseCoopers’ (PwC) Norwegian law firm has been fired after pinching the internet domain name of two PwC clients.

The foolish cybersquatter registered the domain name www.dnbnor.no when he discovered that PwC clients Den norske Bank (DnB) and Gjensidige NOR were planning to merge.

In a cunning plan of Baldrick-esque proportions, the lawyer got his brother-in-law’s company to register the domain name, because in Norway only companies can register domain names.

When an internet site reported that the brother-in-law’s company had registered the potentially profitable domain, the solicitor rang DnB to claim ownership and state that the bank should negotiate with him over ownership rights.

When DnB realised that the lawyer worked for PwC, he changed his mind and said he would give the domain to the bank for free.

His brother-in-law’s company, though, asserted its ownership rights and entered negotiations with DnB about the value of the domain name.

The hapless lawyer had lost the domain name and was duly fired, as his actions were obviously in conflict with the interests of his firm’s clients.

The issue has now been settled. DnB threatened legal action, but negotiations have resulted in the return of the domain name to DnB.

PwC in Norway declined several invitations to comment.