Local Round-Up: Britta Nielsen trial resumes after suspension

Suspected embezzler collapses on opening day of court case

Britta Nielsen, the woman accused of embezzling 117 million kroner from the public purse between 1993 and 2018, fell ill during the opening hours of her nine-day trial at Copenhagen City Court on October 24.

Trial suspended
The trial was suspended until the 65-year-old had recovered sufficiently. It resumed on October 29.

Nielsen’s lawyer Nima Nabipour told media that his client has experienced heart problems of late, and that she had forgotten to take her pills.

Of little help
Nielsen stands accused of gross fraud, misconduct and forgery, and ahead of the trial she was reported to be excited at the prospect of finally breaking her silence on the missing funds from Socialstyrelsen, the national health board, which were mostly earmarked for some of the most needy people in society.

After her arrest in South Africa in November 2018 she said she would “recover and/or seize assets, which include income from illegal activities and/or money laundering”. But days later at a constitutional hearing in Denmark she neither pleaded guilty nor innocent, and she has been of little help in locating the missing assets.

Missing assets
Barely 5 million of the 117 million kroner has been traced.
If found guilty – which is deemed likely given the considerable paper trail – Nielsen faces a likely prison sentence of up to 12 years.

New look for capital’s Paper Island
For several years, it was the home of Copenhagen Street Food, and thousands of foodies flocked there on a daily basis – like an Ellis Island for cuisine.
Now construction firm NCC has confirmed it has signed a 1.2 billion kroner deal to develop Papirøen (Paper Island – although it is formally known as Christiansholm Island), but insists the project’s vision will ensure the island loses none of its industrial charms.

2024 conclusion
Apartments, public housing, a hotel and a market hall for shops, cafes, restaurants and culture events will be built, with work starting next year and continuing until 2024.

Architecture firm COBE has designed untraditional façades consisting of concrete and brick to represent the industrial heritage of Papirøen, which for half a century until 2012 was the home of the Procurement Association of the Danish Press. (CW)

Apartment rents soaring
Landlords are increasingly making renovations so they can raise rents in Copenhagen. Today there are only 36,300 two-bedroom apartments available for rent for under 5,000 kroner, compared to 48,000 in 2015. An average two bedroom apartment costs 11,225 kroner – up 31 percent from 8,536 kroner in 2014. On average, internationals pay 28 percent more than Danes in rent.

More organics in capital
There are regional differences when it comes to buying organic food. Over 50 percent of consumers in the Capital Region ‘often’ or ‘always’ opt for organic food, according to a Norstat survey carried out for Landbrug & Fødevarer, compared to just 29 percent of the people who live in north Jutland. The national average is 43 percent.

Radio station closing
Denmark’s most popular radio station, Radio24syv, is going off the air on October 31. The Culture Ministry recently decided that the Copenhagen station would not be granted a DAB radio broadcasting permit. Radio24syv, which was launched in November 2011, attracted around 1.1 million listeners every week.

Funds for Nørrebro centre
City Hall has granted 1.1 million kroner to Muhabet, a drop-in centre for the mentally vulnerable on Bragesgade in Nørrebro. However, the amount is a long way off the 3.1 million kroner asked for. Muhabet mostly works with immigrants with mental health issues.

Suspected arsonist arrested
Copenhagen Police has arrested a 27-year-old man suspected of setting as many as nine cars on fire – primarily in Nørrebro – since August 30. The police are confident the fires have no relation to the ongoing gang conflict. Some 648 cars have been set on light in Denmark this year.

Slowest road in capital
Some 11 of the 20 slowest roads during rush hour in Denmark are in Copenhagen, according to the Ministry of Transport. The slowest is a section of Amagerbrogade/Torvegade, which has an average speed of 8.2 km/ h – a rate blamed on extensive roadworks that began in the autumn of 2017.

Castle for sale
Kokkedal Castle in Hørsholm in northeast Zealand is up for sale for 150 million kroner. Originally built in 1746, its owner since 2011, property investor Mikael Goldschmidt, has spent a lot of money on renovating it, running the castle as a luxury resort called Kokkedal Slot Copenhagen. Under the terms of the sale, a buyer must agree to continue with the business.

New library for kids
On November 4, the second floor of Copenhagen’s Main Library on Krystalgade will be closed off as new renovations begin to create a new children’s floor, which will include a book section and activity zones that follow the chronological development of a child’s linguistic growth. The renovation will take around six months.