Head Of World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Forced Out Because His Wife Is Chinese

The deputy governor of the Norwegian central bank, Jon Nicolaisen, announced on Friday he was resigning because his application for renewed security clearance had been rejected because he has a Chinese wife.

“The Norwegian Civil Security Clearance Authority informs me that the reason that I will not receive a renewed security clearance is that my wife is a Chinese citizen and resides in China, where I support her financially,” Nicolaisen said. “At the same time, they have determined that there are no circumstances regarding me personally that give rise to doubt about my suitability for obtaining a security clearance, but that this does not carry sufficient weight.”

“I have now had to take the consequences of this,” he said as he tendered his resignation.

Jon Nicolaisen, head of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund and deputy governor of Norway’s central bank, stepped down after being denied security clearance because he has a Chinese wife.

The resignation takes effect immediately, according to a statement released by the central bank. It was not immediately clear who would replace him.

In recent years, Norway has introduced stricter rules for the issuing of security clearances, making it difficult in many cases to get approval for anyone married to a person from a country with which Norway does not have security cooperation.

Jon Nicolaisen, whose wife lives in China, has been married since 2010. He had his term at the bank extended in April, having originally been appointed in 2014. In other words for over a decade it wasn’t an issue who the central banker was married, but has suddenly become grounds for effective termination.

In addition to taking part in setting monetary policy, Nicolaisen had been in charge of overseeing Norway’s $1.2 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest.

Central Bank Governor Oeystein Olsen said Nicolaisen’s departure would be a big loss: “I will miss Jon Nicolaisen in his post as deputy governor, where he performed his duties superbly as a close colleague and competent professional,” Central Bank Governor Oeystein Olsen said in a statement.