Police drop charges against restaurateur Amin Skov
Southeast Jutland police have dropped arson charges against restaurateur Amin Skov, who was charged with arson and insurance fraud for the fire that destroyed Restaurant Vejlegården in Vejle.
"We have established that the fire was set, but we have not been successful in solving the case. This means that the charges against Amin Skov are being dropped,” prosecutor Birte Wirnfeldt said.
Police attempted to solve the case by searching the area around the restaurant with dogs, by viewing video surveillance footage and by interrogating a number of witnesses, but no further developments in the case materialised.
“As a result, we are terminating the case against Amin Skov,” Wirnfeldt said, adding that police are also giving up on finding the alleged person or people responsible for assaulting Skov the night of the fire.
The prosecutor rejected the notion that it was wrong to file a case against Skov in the first place.
"We are under an obligation to prosecute people who are guilty of crimes, and in the case of Skov many leads suggested that he set the fire,” Wirnfeldt said.
She explained that the lack of new developments in the investigation have led to terminating the case, and Skov is therefore no longer considered a suspect unless no evidence surfaces.
The case started on the night of 20 December 2012 when a fire broke out at Restaurant Vejlegården, which rose to national prominence due to Skov's battle with the trade union 3F over his decision to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with his employees that resulted in them receiving lower wages.
Soon after the fire, it became clear that it was set intentionally, and on January 23 Skov was charged with arson. Skov sustained injuries during the fire and was taken to the hospital with laboured breathing and injuries to his face, shoulders, arms, hands, back and one of his legs. He claims he was assaulted by two individuals, but police technicians were unable to find any trace of his alleged assailants.
Conflict with 3F
Skov took ownership of Restaurant Vejlegården in October 2011. In November, he signed a collective bargaining agreement with the independent trade union Krifa instead of traditional trade union 3F.
After unsuccessful negotiation with Restaurant Vejlegården, 3F management reacted with a blockade in March 2012 that, among other things, meant that suppliers failed to deliver goods to the restaurant. The conflict lasted over the whole summer, and many right-wing politicians expressed sympathy for Skov.
Both Skov and 3F received several anonymous threats during the conflict, which inflamed the debate about trade unions’ rights in blockades.