Denmark: Kurdish fund illegally supporting ROJ TV

Denmark: Kurdish fund illegally supporting ROJ TV

Kurdish TV station ROJ TV received 118 million kroner from a Danish fund, though Danish authorities had considered such support illegal for several years.

The Kurdish Culture Fund (Den Kurdiske Kulturfond) has given millions of kroner in support to ROJ TV's Danish parent-company Mesopotamia since 2004, according to Berlingske Tidende's documentation, which for the first time gives insight into the cash flow to the controversial TV station, whose Danish broadcasting license has poisoned relations between Turkey and Denmark.

The Civil Affairs Agency, which oversees the funds under the Justice Ministry, has repeatedly asked the Cultural Fund to prove that its donors agree that their money is transferred on, as required by the law. But the fund, with few exceptions, hadn't produced the evidence, and the Civil Affairs Agency ruled that the law has been broken. According to the law, the fund should therefore demand the money back from ROJ TV, but despite various threats - including fines and removal of the board - the Civil Affairs Agency never required repayment, but instead twice decide to accept the illegal millions of kroner aid: in 2004 under then Justice Minister Lene Espersen (K) and again in 2008 under Brian Mikkelsen (K).

Justice Minister Lars Barfoed (K) will, following Berlingske Tidende's story, ask the Agency to review the case again.

He says the Agency told him the case had not been submitted to the Justice Ministry and therefore not to his two predecessors either.

Berlingske Tidende can also document that the Copenhagen police and the economic crime police, during their five year long investigation into ROJ TV's possible links to the Kurdish PKK, which is on the EU's terror lists, had tried to trace where the money to the Fund, and therefore to ROJ TV, comes from. According to the fund it come from collections among Kurds, but that only explained a fraction of the money. The police suspect that it really comes from PKK's drug trade and is whitewashed through the fund's transfers.

Last week French and Belgian police raided suspected PKK offices and ROJ TV's studio in Brussels on suspicions including whitewashing.

Source: Berlingske Tidende (Danish)

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