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Danish local politician found dead before attempted murder trial

A local politician in Denmark was found dead in his cell on Wednesday morning, shortly before court proceedings were scheduled to begin in an attempted murder case against him.

Danish local politician found dead before attempted murder trial
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The case, against René Michael Fløe Kauland of the town of Greve near Roskilde, was due to begin on Wednesday.

But Kauland was found dead in his cell at Slagelse Jail. The death is to be further investigated, Central and West Zealand Police have confirmed.

“As the man has died, there will subsequently be no criminal proceedings against him in our police district,” spokesperson Martin Bjerregaard told Ritzau.

The neighbouring South Zealand and Lolland/Falster police force was informed of the death at 7:29am on Wednesday, the news agency writes.

A police duty officer did not wish to go into any detail relating to cause of death or when the local politician is thought to have died.

Kauland, 41, was charged with attempting to murder his former girlfriend and with assaulting her daughter on May 11th last year.

He was suspected of entering the woman’s bedroom, where she and her daughter were sleeping, carrying a blunt object and wearing a mask. He was accused of then beating the woman on the head and body with the object, also hitting the daughter.

“The death is very sad,” Henrik Stagetorn, who was defence lawyer in the cancelled trial, said.

“The case is closed in the sense that there will be no trial,” Stagetorn said.

Kauland was elected to the town council in Greve for the Venstre (Liberal) party in 2017, according to newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

READ ALSO: Denmark's courts hand out tougher sentences for rape, violence

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CRIME

Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks

Danish prosecutors on Friday charged the country's former military intelligence chief with leaking state secrets, following a scandal over Denmark's cooperation with US intelligence.

Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks
The prosecution authority said Lars Findsen was accused of “having divulged secrets important to national security on several occasions and… under particularly aggravated circumstances”.
 
The details of the investigation are classified, but the case comes after Danish media reported that the Danish intelligence services had cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA).
 

Findsen, who was suspended in August 2020 without public explanation, was subsequently held in custody from December 2021 to February 2022. He insists he is innocent.

 
“I never divulged any state secrets. I reject the allegations”, he told Danish news agency Ritzau in June, criticising the handling of the case as “ridiculous”.
 

Prosecutors accuse Findsen of leaking state secrets and other confidential information after his suspension to six people, including two journalists, over a period of up to 17 months.

 
The leaks could “harm relations with other intelligence service partners and make their work more difficult if their work methods were revealed”, prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said.
 
“Trust in the (Danish) intelligence service’s ability to protect sensitive information may have been weakened,” he added.
 
The prosecution said it would request a trial behind closed doors. A date has yet to be set.
 
While Denmark never publicly revealed why Findsen and the other agents were suspended, there have been suspicions that his service conducted illegal surveillance.
 
The government accused them of hiding “crucial information” and providing “false information to the authorities” between 2014 and 2020.
 
In May 2021, an investigation by several Danish media revealed that the NSA used Danish underwater cables to spy on officials in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden until at least 2014.
 
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel was among the NSA’s targets.
 
The revelations sparked an international scandal and the four countries demanded explanations from Washington and Copenhagen.
 
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