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South Africa extradites primary suspect in Danish embezzlement case

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South Africa extradites primary suspect in Danish embezzlement case
Anna Britta Troelsgaard Nielsen arrives for her appearance at Randburg Magistrates Court in Johannesburg on November 8th. Photo: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/Ritzau Scanpix
11:03 CET+01:00
Authorities in South Africa on Thursday approved the extradition to Denmark of two suspects in a major case involving misappropriation of public funds.

After two court procedures in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon, judges decided to release Anna Britta Troelsgaard Nielsen and a second, male suspect to be escorted by Interpol officers to the South African city's airport.

They were then scheduled to be accompanied by Danish officers on a flight to Denmark and are expected to arrive on Friday.

Nielsen, who is suspected of misappropriating 111 million kroner from the National Board of Social Services (Socialstyrelsen), an administrative department of the Ministry for Children and Social Affairs, was arrested in Johannesburg on Monday morning.

The 64-year-old has been wanted internationally by Danish authorities since the ministry went public on October 9th with details of the embezzlement affair, which spans 16 years from 2002 to 2018, and deprived the agency of in excess of 100 million kroner.

The second suspect, who was last week also arrested in South Africa in connection with the case, is protected by rules preventing his names from being made public, so his relationship to Nielsen has not been revealed.

His defence lawyer, Henrik Dupont Jørgensen, praised South African authorities for their management of the extradition appeal.

“I have nothing but praise for the South African authorities. There seems to be a very competent legal process there. I also have a positive impression of the lawyers there,” Jørgensen said.

After landing in Denmark, the two suspects will be arrested by Danish police and will appear before a judge for preliminary hearing within 24 hours, in accordance with normal procedure.

That hearing was likely to take place on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, Jørgensen told Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Primary suspect arrested in Danish social welfare embezzlement case

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