Henrik Qvortrup arriving at Glostrup District Court on Thursday. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Henrik Qvortup, the magazine’s former editor and one of Denmark’s most prominent political commentators, is accused of masterminding the illegal monitoring of credit cards belonging to Danish royals and celebrities.
“Qvortup was the man who got the idea and arranged the illegal agreement,” prosecutor Henrik Uhl Pedersen said in Glostrup District Court on Thursday, according to news agency Ritzau.
The so-called ‘Se og Hør case’ came to light in 2014 when former journalist Ken B. Rasmussen published a purportedly fictional book detailing how gossip magazine Se og Hør used credit card information to write stories about members of the royal family.
After a police probe, prosecutors filed charges against eight people as well as magazine owner Aller Media.
The magazine paid an employee within the credit card company Nets to provide journalists with credit card records. The illegally-obtained information led to a series of celebrity scoops for the magazine, including one about Danish Prince Joachim's 2008 honeymoon in Canada, which had been kept secret.
Among the others whose private information was accessed by the gossip mag are PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Police also suspect that current and former Se og Hør employees paid sources within the police, the Royal House and at Copenhagen Airport to provide information about the comings and goings of celebrities.
In addition to Qvortrup, who is still working as a high-profile journalist, another former Se og Hør editor-in-chief, Kim Henningsen, is also facing a potential two-year sentence.
Prosecutors are pushing for a three-year sentence for the 47-year-old Nets employee, who has become known in the Danish media as “the hush-hush source”.
The authors facing an indictment, including Ken B Rasmussen, face shorter sentences ranging from eight to 18 months.
Twenty days have been set aside for the Se og Hør trial, with verdicts expected on November 24th.
Many observers have drawn parallels with Britain's News of the World, which was shut down by Rupert Murdoch in July 2011 following allegations of widespread phone hacking.