Danish politician to face retrial in EU fraud case

Morten Messerschmidt, pictured here in the Danish parliament, will face retrial in a high-profile EU fraud case.
Morten Messerschmidt, pictured here in the Danish parliament, will face retrial in a high-profile EU fraud case. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Morten Messerschmidt, the vice-chair of the Danish People's Party (DF), will face retrial in a high-profile fraud case after the judge who found him guilty in the trial was disqualified.

Messerschmidt was in August given a six-month conditional prison sentence at the Lyngby District Court for forging documents and misusing EU funds when he was an MEP in Brussels.

But the judge in the trial, Søren Holm Seerup, was on Wednesday found by the Østre Landsret high court to be disqualifiable from the case.

The basis for the decision was a “like” given by Seerup to a Facebook post about Messerschmidt, which was posted the day after the original trial ended and criticised Messerschmidt for continuing as DF’s deputy leader despite his apparent conviction.

Because of the judge’s disqualification, the conviction against Messerschmidt is quashed and he will be retried.

The high-profile DF politician is a frontrunner to take over as the leader of the party following the resignation in November of long-serving chairperson Kristian Thulesen Dahl.

“The means in any event that the conviction I was given last summer is no longer valid. I haven’t been convicted of anything,” Messerschmidt said outside the court on Wednesday according to news wire Ritzau.

The DF deputy leader has an earlier conviction, having been given, along with other members of the DF youth party, a 14-day suspended prison sentence under Denmark’s racism laws in 2003 for an anti-Islam poster.

“The next time we meet (in court) it will be with a more offensive and new approach,” he said in reference to the retrial.

The retrial means a final outcome in the case is now unlikely before 2023, should it be concluded following appeals.

READ ALSO: Explained: What are the fraud accusations against the Danish People’s Party’s vice chair?


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.