Former Venstre spin doctor warned against “dangerous” Taxgate involvement

Søs Marie Serup claims the party never considered the implications of the audit into their main political foe’s tax liability

During yet another day of the ongoing Taxgate commission's investigation into the illegal leaking of PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt's personal tax records, the former communications director for Venstre (V) testified that she told her party not to get involved in the audit and that V never considered its political implications. 

Søs Marie Serup, who was former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen's spin doctor until March 2011, said that she considered the audit into V's political foe to be "dangerous". 

"It was very dangerous for our [communications] department, which was new," she told the commission. "We did everything we could to distance ourselves from the case. I gave the order that none of my employees should touch it. I told them that they shouldn't concern themselves with it nor engage in gossip."

Serup admitted to discussing the party's press strategy regarding the audit with Peter Arnfeldt, who was the spin doctor for the then tax minister, Troels Lund Poulsen (V). Arnfeldt faces police charges for his suspected role in the leaking of the confidential information.

According to Serup, she only discussed the audit once with Rasmussen, but she couldn't rule out whether her boss was kept informed of developments by others.

Also appearing before the commission today was former Skat Copenhagen employee Søren Hansen, who testified that former Tax Ministry official Peter Loft tried to influence the Skat employees looking into the tax liability of Thorning-Schmidt's husband Stephen Kinnock.

Loft made his opinion known to the Skat employees that Kinnock, who lived and worked in Switzerland at the time, should be liable for Danish taxes. Skat, however, ruled that he was not. 

Despite Skat's findings, Hansen testified that he received the direct impression from Loft that Kinnock should be made to pay taxes in Denmark. He also revealed how Skat Copenhagen's tax director Lisbeth Rasmussen, who appeared before the commission earlier this month, seemed "agitated" after a meeting with Loft because Loft had made it clear to her that Kinnock should be found liable to pay taxes.

Loft's role in Taxgate cost him his job at the Tax Ministry

Today was the tenth day of testimony in the Taxgate commission's investigation. The next day of testimony will be on December 13. Among those still expected to appear before the commission are former PM Rasmussen and Thorning-Schmidt's spin doctor, Noa Redington.

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