The partial sale of state-owned Dong Energy to American investment firm Goldman Sachs continues to make headlines more than a year after the fact.
On Friday, parliament’s executive committee sharply criticized Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon on Friday for giving parliament too few details about the sale, including the failure to disclose competing bids.
Corydon had defended not releasing more information on the Dong sale on the grounds that sensitive information had previously leaked out of parliament.
“The committee finds it unsatisfactory if a general distrust of MPs’ ability or willingness to observe confidentiality agreements leads to an unwillingness on behalf of the government to give MPs access to confidential information,” a letter from the committee stated.
Mogens Lykketoft, the speaker of parliament and like Corydon a Social Democrat, said the minister should have been more forthcoming about other bids.
“Information on the individual offers, beyond the one that ended up being accepted, were of factual importance to parliament,” Lykketoft told broadcaster DR.
“Parliament’s leadership and a majority of MPs cannot accept the argument that we cannot keep a secret,” he added.
The government’s decision to sell an 18 percent stake of Dong to Goldman Sachs was deeply controversial and led to the Socialist People’s Party leaving the coalition government in protest.
After the sale, it was revealed that a Danish pension fund had actually offered a higher bid than the American investment firm.
Last month, a book came out that stated that parliament’s finance committee was required to stop the sale if it was possible to get a higher price than what was offered by Goldman Sachs. According to the book, Corydon neither informed the committee of that obligation nor gave them information about the other bids.
In March, Politiken newspaper reported that Dong’s valuation in the sale to Goldman Sachs did not include a massive deal that both parties knew was imminent, shortchanging the company's value by as much as 20 billion kroner.
Corydon on Friday once again denied any wrongdoing in relation to the sale.
“I definitely do not feel like I have done anything wrong. On the contrary, I have absorbed a lot of political criticism and have been ready to bear a burden in order to take as good care of taxpayer money as possible,” he told DR.
Goldman Sachs was joined by Danish pension funds ATP and PFA in its purchase of 18 percent of Dong at a price of 11 billion kroner.