Apr 2, 2017

Majority: [Danish PM] Løkke must demand the extradition of Amdi on Mexico trip

A majority of Danish politicians believe Denmark should demand that Tvind’s founder be extradited when the country’s Prime Minister visits Mexico in the coming days.

By Jesper Kongstad
April 2, 2017

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen should demand that the fugitive Tvind leader, Mogens Amdi Petersen, be extradited for trial in Denmark when Rasmussen begins a several-day visit to Mexico on Sunday.

Such is the view of a majority in Denmark’s parliament. The Danish People's Party, the Social Democrats and Socialist People's Party all believe that the visit is an excellent opportunity to increase pressure on Mexico to get the requested extradition. The parties want the Prime Minister to raise the issue at a meeting with the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.

“It’s a good opportunity, now that the Prime Minister is on a visit, to raise the issue with the Mexican authorities. It’s offensive to the sense of justice that Amdi can hide over there,” says Peter Skaarup of the Danish People's Party.

The Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, has previously revealed that Petersen, after fleeing Denmark in 2006, has taken up residence at Tvind's international headquarters and training center, TG Pacifico, on Mexico’s Baja coast. And last year, another Danish news outlet, DR3, published the first photos of Petersen in over 10 years, taken at the Mexican compound.

Tax fraud and embezzlement

Social Democratic Party spokesman, Trine Bramsen, also believes that Denmark should use the visit to demand Petersen’s extradition, because “one shouldn’t be able to commit massive financial crimes and then just disappear when one is wanted.” Petersen fled Denmark after he and four other Tvind leaders, on August 31, 2006 at the district court in Ringkøbing, were acquitted of tax evasion of 47 million Danish kroner and embezzlement of 57 million Danish kroner in connection with Tvind projects in countries such as Malaysia and Brazil. [together equaling about US$20 million]

The prosecution, after a few days of reflection, appealed to Denmark’s High Court. But by then Petersen and the other defendants had disappeared from the country.

Socialist People's Party's spokesman, Lisbeth Bech Poulsen, sees no legitimate reason why Mexico shouldn’t turn Petersen over to Denmark, which has a fair judicial system.

“The Prime Minister should during the visit urge that Petersen be extradited. [The Mexican authorities] know where he lives,” she says.

For more than two years the Danish police have asked the Mexican government to arrest Petersen and extradite him to Denmark. But the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime says that Mexican authorities have so far refused the request, on the grounds that Mexican law prohibits such an extradition if a person has been acquitted in a first instance, as was the case with Petersen and the other defendants at the District Court in Ringkøbing.

Red-Green Alliance spokesman, Rune Lund, also believes that Petersen and the other fugitives should come home for trial in Denmark, but he will leave it up to the government to assess whether the visit should be used to push for extradition. The same feeling comes from Liberal Party spokesman, Preben Bang Henriksen.

Years of struggle

“But it should be no secret that I think that Amdi should be extradited,” says Bang Henriksen.

It hasn’t been possible to get a comment from Lars Løkke Rasmussen, but in an email to Jyllands-Posten the Prime Minister's Office stated it is expected that the case will be mentioned to President Peña Nieto:

“The Danish authorities have for years been trying to get Mogens Amdi Petersen and the others in the Tvind case extradited for prosecution in Denmark. There is an ongoing dialogue with the Mexican authorities accordingly, and the Prime Minister is expected to mention the matter to the president, just as he did when they last met in April 2016,” the agency said, referring to last year's Mexican state visit to Denmark.

The Prime Minister visits Mexico from April 2 to April 4, and he will meet with representatives from Lego, Maersk and other Danish companies in the country.

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