Denmark announces plan to withdraw citizenship from criminal gang members

Gangsters could lose their Danish citizenship under a new change to the law proposed by the government.

Denmark announces plan to withdraw citizenship from criminal gang members
People protest against gangs in Copenhagen in 2017, a year that saw an extended period of violence between crime groups. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Dual nationals who are convicted of serious crimes in connection with their association with a gang would lose their Danish passports if the proposal becomes law.

An agreement for changes to existing citizenship rules, announced earlier this week, required parliament to look into the possibility of revoking citizenship entirely from Danish nationals who have committed crimes.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new tightening of citizenship rules

Offences which would qualify an individual for retraction of their citizenship would be “serious gang crimes that are seriously damaging to the state’s vital interests,” the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said in a statement.

Current laws allow citizenship to be revoked, but for a smaller range of serious crimes against the state including terrorism or acting for a foreign militant group against Danish interests.

In the statement, released Wednesday evening, the government said it wanted a legal option to “withdraw citizenship from gang members who take part in gang conflicts to be used as widely as possible within the boundaries of Denmark’s international obligations”.

According to immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye, organised crime in Denmark is “very severe”.

Such crime “destroys local communities and creates feelings of insecurity for Mr and Mrs Denmark,” he added in the statement.

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Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The National Unit for Special Crime has received 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief packages since 1st April 2020, according to a press release from the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet).

Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The frauds and attempted frauds amount to 212 million kroner, although some of the scams were discovered before the fraudsters got the money. More than 28 million kroner has been recovered through 102 recovery operations.

According to Jørgen Andersen, deputy police inspector and head of the Money Laundering Secretariat, the task has been taken “very seriously” in the secretariat since the introduction of corona relief packages.

“And it has had a high priority with us as authorities. But also with the notifiers – here primarily banks and the accountants – and we sat down together quite quickly in a community.

“Here, we organised the effort in such a way that when banks and auditors sent notifications to us where there was a suspicion of misuse of schemes, we typically sent them within 24 hours to the authorities who paid money on these schemes”, Andersen says.

Companies or individuals should contact the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet) if they suspect money laundering or terrorist financing.

In October 2020, an eight-billion kroner stimulus package was agreed in parliament to help Danish businesses and cultural institutions hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The financial package also included a liquidity fund totalling 28 million kroner. 

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new coronavirus relief for businesses and culture