The prosecutors in the Britta Nielsen case, of which the fourth day concluded at Copenhagen City Court on Tuesday, claim the former state employee – who stands accused of embezzling 117 million kroner from the Socialstyrelsen health board between 1993 and 2018 – has pretty much spent the lot.
And surprisingly, perhaps, she was able to spend 60.2 million kroner in Denmark, withdrawing sums from various banks in a conventional manner – without arousing suspicion.
A further 48.3 million, the prosecutors contend, left the country – primarily to fund the horse-related businesses of her daughter Samina Hayat, who denies knowledge of her mother’s embezzlement, in Germany (25 million) and the Netherlands (6 million).
Barely 5 million kroner has been recovered, mainly because Nielsen, who has not yet said a word in the ongoing trial but has through her lawyer admitted to some of the embezzlement, has been unhelpful.
Britta likes a bundle
Nielsen clearly liked the feeling of having a wad of cash in her pocket, as she withdrew 25.1 million kroner over the decades she was siphoning off funds earmarked for some of the neediest people in society.
Her favourite method was to go into one of five different Danske Bank branches where she held accounts and ask for cash – 15,000 kroner a visit, which is the maximum daily amount permissible. Documentation proves she did this 2,040 times between 1997 and 2018. She also made a few ATM withdrawals.
Additionally, she spent 6 million kroner on her Mastercard, nearly 1 million in Sweden where she bought a farm, and around 611,000 on a car for her other daughter, Karina.
She converted 4 million kroner into foreign currency, gave over 7 million to her family (with her son Jimmy scooping nearly 3 million), and ended up funneling 9.7 million kroner into a bank account she set up in South Africa in 2007 – 100-200,000 at a time.
Her biggest expense, however, was her daughter’s horse-related businesses in Germany and the Netherlands.
One of the businesses received 6.5 million between 2012 and 2015, and an almost identical sum was transferred to Samina Hayat’s private account. Two more of Hayat’s companies received cash injections of 2.5 and 13.5 million.
None of the companies’ assets – mainly horses for studding purposes – are of much value anymore.
Panicked Google search revealed
Meanwhile, according to BT, some curious details have emerged regarding what Nielsen searched for via Google in the week leading up to her arrest on November 5 last year.
The search items included: “Where to serve a sentence of 6 years?”, “How to set up a fund in South Africa?”, “Where to store jewelry in Sandton (Johannesburg, South Africa, ed.)?”, “Nyborg prison”, “Closed prisons”, “Horserød prison” and “Is Maurititus part of South Africa?”
Nielsen refused to allow the authorities access to her phone when she was arrested, so it was opened by experts. After all, it is a little embarrassing to not know that South Africa doesn’t own Maurititus.