Norway's richest woman fined £23,000 for drink-driving

In the UK, drink-driving carries a hefty fine – but it's capped at a maximum of £2,500 except in extreme circumstances. Not so in Norway, where traffic fines are related to income – put simply, the richer you are, the more you have to pay.

That caused some problems when Norway's richest woman was caught driving under the influence. Katharina Andresen, a 22-year-old student with an estimated wealth of £928m, was banned from driving for 13 months and handed a mammoth 250,000 kroner fine – that's £23,000.

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Andresen's fortune is inherited. In 2007, her father gave her a 42 per cent share in the family company, leading Forbes to declare her the world's second-youngest billionaire. The tobacco heiress can count herself lucky to escape with the fine, though – as prosecutors initially demanded far harsher penalties.

The court heard Andresen's fine was not based on her assets, and accepted she had no fixed income. She told the court she is a student and effectively lives with her parents, using a monthly allowance of £800 rather than her vast inheritance.

Local newspapers reported that the fine could have been as much as £3.7m if based on her inheritance, but the court heard her assets had "not yielded any dividend yet".

Norway's drink-drive limit is one of the strictest in Europe. With a limit of just 0.1mg of alcohol per millilitre of blood, it's around eight times lower than in the UK. Norway's penalties are also very strict, with a recommendation that fines should not be less than 10,000 kroner – around £1,200. Licenses may also be suspended indefinitely.

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