Controversial restaurateur accused of arson

Amin Skov denies setting fire to his own restaurant last December and claims he could not financially gain from insurance claims

The Vejle man embroiled in a high-profile labour conflict with trade union 3F was arrested today on suspicion of arson and insurance fraud related to the fire at his restaurant on the evening of December 21.

Amin Skov has denied having anything to do with the fire at Restaurant Vejlegården and instead claims that he was knocked unconscious by two individuals while working in the office on the night in question. He escaped through a window after regaining consciousness and finding the restaurant in flames.

Skov was admitted to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, but police now allege that he set the fire and his injuries were self-inflicted.

“We want to emphasise that the arrest and charge are built upon a thorough investigation,” South Jutland Police spokesperson Brian Olsen stated. “I want to underline that the prosecution will later decide whether there is enough evidence to take the case to court. Right now we are simply following the evidence as we have a duty to.”

The police added that it is far from certain that Skov was behind the fire and formal charges have yet to be brought against him. However, investigators have requested warrants to search his business and home for evidence.

Suspicion that Skov was responsible began circulating after police failed to publicly verify Skov’s version of events about the cause of the fire.

In an attempt to demonstrate that he had been assaulted, Skov recently released a photograph taken almost two weeks after the alleged assault which shows the left-side of his face to be clearly bruised and swollen.

In an interview with Politiken newspaper, Skov added that he had nothing to gain from setting fire to the restaurant.

“I have rented the building and filled it with tables, chairs, tills and storage shelves,” Skov told Politiken. “I did renovate some of the building with the owner but there isn’t a big insurance payout waiting for me if it all burns down.”

Thomas Borge Christensen, the building’s owner, confirmed that Skov would not benefit from any insurance payments if the building would have burned down.

“I cannot see what interest Amin Skov would have in committing insurance fraud,” Christensen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “He doesn’t own the building. And because he already announced shortly before the fire year that he was planning renovations in the New Year, he wouldn’t be able to claim compensation for loss of earnings. You can’t claim for losses if you weren’t going to be open.”

The deputy chairman of Skov’s support group, founded after 3F started its blockade of his business, said he was surprised to hear the allegations against Skov.

“Amin has never seemed to me to be the type that would do something like this. Many, many people would be shocked if he did,” Per Bruun Jespersen told Politiken.

Skov has claimed that the restaurant has been repeatedly broken into following the decision by 3F to legally blockade Skov’s restaurant after he made his employees join a collective bargaining agreement with trade union Krifa that guarantees them a lower wage than 3F’s collective bargaining agreement.