Just six months ago, Lars Løkke Rasmussen stripped the minister for food and environment, Esben Lunde Larsen, of his duties pertaining to the fishing industry for not adequately revealing the options available for curbing the most powerful fishing companies in Denmark – the so-called ‘quota kings’.
Now, the prime minister himself has landed in rough seas over the issue and has been reported to the police by a former official for reportedly accepting a summerhouse stay worth about 10,000 kroner from one of the ‘quota kings’, John-Anker Hametner Larsen, back in 2014.
Rasmussen has been reported to the police under the punishment paragraph 144, also known as accepting a bribe, according to Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Paragraph 144 stipulates that it is punishable for people in public office to receive a gift.
“As a public employee or elected official, you cannot receive gifts or other benefits. You don’t even have to have given anything in return for it to be considered bribery,” Trine Baumbach, an associate professor of criminal law at the University of Copenhagen, told Jyllands-Posten.
The gift may not have been an issue had Rassmusen and Hametner been old friends and had a history of giving one another valuable gifts, but the PM has stated that he only met Hametner in January 2014.
A hearing is currently ongoing in which Rasmussen is answering questions about his relations to the ‘quota kings’.
Previously, the PM has indicated he would not answer any questions pertaining to gifts, as he considers it a private matter. He would, however, answer questions regarding whether he provided correct information about his relationship to the ‘quota kings’.