Løkke denies being warned in stateless saga

Former prime minister contradicts earlier testimony by his former right hand

The former prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre), told the so-called ‘Stateless Commission’ today that he did not remember receiving any warning that the Integration Ministry was violating international law by denying citizenship to stateless Palestinians.

“I can say with 100 percent certainty that I do not remember receiving such a warning,” Rasmussen told the commission. “I may have missed an offhand remark here and there, but I was not aware that there were substantial problems, otherwise I would have acted on them.”

Rasmussen’s former permanent secretary, Karsten Dybvad, testified last week that he informed his boss of problems at the ministry in the autumn of 2009 after a meeting with Clæs Nilas, the permanent secretary of the then immigration minister, Birthe Rønn Hornbech (Venstre).

Rasmussen said at a press conference in March 2011 that he only became aware of problems at the ministry when the case “turned up in the media”.

Hornbech was fired in March 2011 after intense media scrutiny that exposed how stateless Palestinians continued to be denied citizenship for two years after the ministry realised in 2008 that the practice was illegal.

The Stateless Commission is attempting to discover who was responsible for letting the practice continue, when exactly the Immigration Ministry was made aware of the practice, and how ministry officials responded when they found out they were acting in violation of the law.

“I can safely say that I never heard the term ‘unlawful’, otherwise I would have remembered it and acted on it,” said Rasmussen. “I can completely and totally deny that I was ever told that there were substantial problems.”





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