Danish welfare agency fraud case larger than first said

March 1, 2019

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark’s minister for children and social affairs says a new investigation into a huge fraud involving public funds show more money — 121 million kroner ($19 million) — had vanished from Danish government coffers.

Mai Mercado said Friday “we are talking about an extremely gross abuse,” adding the new probe had gone back to 1993.

A previous estimate said 111 million kroner ($17 million) had vanished between 2002 and 2018.

Mercado declined to give further details citing a pending criminal investigation.

It was not clear how the money was stolen, but it appears the main suspect Britta Nielsen had privileged access to the Danish government welfare agency’s computer system.

Nielsen was arrested Nov. 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa, on an extradition request and voluntarily returned to Denmark to face charges.