Copenhagen-based heart surgeon avoids prison time for embezzling research funds

Former Rigshospitalet department head gets 18-month suspended sentence

Disgraced heart surgeon Peer Grande, 64, has today been handed a 18-month suspended sentence at Copenhagen City Court after being found guilty of the gross mismanagement of research funds.

The Norwegian-born practitioner was also given 250 hours of community service and made to pay costs, but his right to practise medicine was not revoked.

The fraud charges related to his embezzlement of around 2.8 million kroner over a period of several years.

READ MORE: Capital region to audit hospitals after fraud scandal

390 counts in total
Grande, the once prominent head of Rigshospitalet’s heart centre and lead researcher at the same hospital, was suspended in June 2013 following a string of allegations.

The doctor was charged with 390 counts of fraud, carried out in eleven different countries. He mostly spent the illicitly-gained funds on holidays, restaurant visits and purchases of various luxury brands such as Rolex and Louis Vuitton.

Harmful to reputation
“It’s hard to see what Rolex watches have to do with research,” said a disappointed Henrik Ullum, the chairman of De lægevidenskabelige Selskaber, according to TV2 News.

Ullum is certain the case will harm the reputation of doctors as well as people’s trust in the research process.

Prosecutor Per Justesen had asked for the doctor to be imprisoned for two years and to be permanently struck off.

Tackling research fraud
The Peer Grande case has led to strong criticism of Rigshospitalet’s lack of regulations concerning the use of research funds, and it has already acknowledged that it needs to make changes.

“We have spent somewhere between 10 and 15 million kroner strengthening controls on spending relating to travel and purchases made by doctors with access to research funds,” Per Christiansen, the head of Rigshospitalet, told TV2 News.