DF politician faces police charges for leaking information

Pernille Bendixen told press about how much taxpayer money goes to two families in Vollsmose; despite facing charges, she has no regrets

Odense Council has reported its own council member, Pernille Bendixen (DF), to the police after she passed on sensitive information about two criminal families to the media.

Bendixen revealed to Fyens Stiftstidende how much taxpayer money in Odense goes to two criminal families, including that of the notorious gang leader Fez Fez, whose family lives in the troubled Odense suburb of Vollsmose.

Jørgen Clausen, the government administration head at Odense Council, said in a press release that Bendixen's leak was a clear breech of confidentiality.

“We follow the media and can see what’s been going on,” Clausen said. “So we have sent the case on to the Funen police and they must evaluate whether there are grounds to initiate a criminal case.”

Clausen pointed to section 152 of the criminal law, which states that one cannot pass on classified information that one is privileged to have as part of one’s position in the public sector.

A call for help
Bendixen admitted that she leaked the information, but argued that she had only done so because her colleagues at the council refused to discuss the issue after it was revealed that the council was cutting jobs in order to save 42 million kroner.

“It’s a call for help. For four years I have been part of making considerable cuts that have affected the city’s children and youth,” Bendixen wrote on her website. “I have pointed out the unnatural expenses associated with Vollsmose many times, but it’s either neglected, dismissed or I’m called racist.”

And while Bendixen said that she had apologised for her actions and would accept a warning, she could be in serious legal trouble according to Sten Bønsing, a lecturer in constitutional law at Aalborg University.

“It’s not illegal to reveal certain amounts, but a politician is not permitted to do so in connection with specific families,” Bønsing told DR Nyheder. “It’s up to the police to decide whether there are grounds for a criminal case.”

No regrets
Either way, Bendixen does not regret her actions.

“No, I have not regretted it. I am an elected politician and I’m elected to represent the public,” Bendixen told DR Fyn. “I am not elected to sit and cover up classified information that I believe is wrong.”

DF spokesperson Søren Espersen said that he reprimanded Bendixen but that the party had no plans to take any further action against her.

According to Bendixen’s leak to Fyens Stiftstidende, Odense Council spent 4.5 million kroner in subsidies on Fez Fez and his family last year.