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Danish social agency freezes payouts after embezzlement scandal

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Danish social agency freezes payouts after embezzlement scandal
Minister for Children and Social Affairs Mai Mercado. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
16:34 CEST+02:00
Socialstyrelsen, an administrative department of the Ministry for Children and Social Affairs, has temporarily shut down payments of special funds for social projects.

The decision is directly connected to a long-standing embezzlement affair at the agency, details of which were made public by the ministry last week.

Minister for Children and Social Affairs Mai Mercado confirmed on Monday the connection between the misappropriation affair and the closure of the payment system.

“The embezzlement affair at Socialstyrelsen is so serious that the agency feels it is necessary to freeze payment of grants for a period of time in order to ensure that the money goes to the societies and organisations to which it was awarded,” Mercado said.

Last week, Mercado's ministry confirmed that a former Socialstyrelsen employee was wanted by police for long-term misappropriation of public funds totalling 111 million kroner ($17.23 million). The money is reported to have been taken in many cases from state funds intended to benefit socially underprivileged people.

The issue has therefore resulted in the agency withholding October payments from such groups.

Mercado said that the funds would be paid as soon as possible.

READ ALSO: Warnings of irregularities at Danish social welfare authority raised in 2006

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