Prime Minister’s Office criticised for “mistreatment” of policy architect

Government officials did not follow “standard procedure” after ruling would-be finance minister posed a possible security threat

Parliament’s ombudsman today levelled a scathing criticism against the Prime Minister’s Office and the Justice Ministry for their “highly objectionable” treatment of Henrik Sass Larsen, a Socialdemokrat MP who was widely expected to become the finance minister after last September’s general election.

Larsen, an architect of the party’s policy, was told on September 28 that his dealings with a leading member of a criminal motorcycle gang in the town of Køge – including exchanging text messages – made him a security threat and ruled him out of a cabinet seat.

Larsen, however, was only allowed to briefly see the results of the security investigation, and was told only orally that the information surrounding the investigation was confidential.

Ombudsman Jørgen Steen Jørgensen, in today’s ruling, called it questionable whether an oral warning was valid.

“Even a person in a position such as Henrik Sass Larsen should be able to assume that standard procedure applied in his case, and that his legal rights were clear,” Jørgensen said.

The lapses, according to Jørgensen, were even more glaring, given the media pressure on Larsen to reveal details of the matter.

Despite criticising the way Larsen was treated, the ombudsman’s report concluded that “the Justice Ministry was under no obligation to honour Henrik Sass Larsen’s request to be given a copy of the report”.

Jørgensen, however, said it was possible Larsen could obtain the report if he requested it through a freedom of information request.





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