OSLO, Norway – A Norwegian Labor Party politician took voluntary sick leave Thursday and said she wouldn't seek re-election after running up big phone bills at Parliament's expense by turning to an unusual set of advisers: fortunetellers.
Saera Khan's mobile phone habits became known after Parliament said it would no longer cover her bills, which Norway's largest newspaper Verdens Gang said hit $7,740 in one three-month period.
"Advice from fortune tellers has not influenced the Labor party's work in Parliament," Labor's parliamentary leader Hill-Marta Solberg said in announcing Khan's leave.
It was not immediately clear how long she would be on leave, but Khan said she would not seek a second term in September elections. Neither Khan nor Solberg said what kind of advice she sought. Solberg said the amount of the bills would not be made public.
At first, Khan said the bills were run up because she was calling a satellite phone used by her boyfriend, who she claimed was on a secret foreign mission with Britain's special forces.
But the 29-year-old lawmaker released a statement late Wednesday confirming news reports that her bills were so high because she called pay-by-the-minute fortune tellers 793 times in one nine-month period. She said she paid back the amount.