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University tried to stop police fraud probe

Department head wanted to stop a filed police complaint against top researcher for embezzlement

The University of Copenhagen attempted to stop a police case against a top researcher in 2008. This is according to Danish daily Politiken.

Following a court order, this or other media may not name the researcher in question.

The case later led to the scientist being convicted in the Town Court for the embezzlement of DKK 28,000, forgery of documents, and fabrication of evidence. The university suspended the researcher in March 2010.

Just carelessness

Former head of department Erling Mellerup confirms that he urged a private corporation, which had funded the researcher, to withdraw their filed charges.

»It was my attitude then, and it is still, that it is silly to file police charges against a researcher for DKK 30,000. There were so many that had messy funding accounts,« he says.

»In this case it has maybe turned out to be worse, but at the time, I just had the impression that it was carelessness,« Erling Mellerup says to Politiken.

Tried to put blame on student assistant

The private company briefed the University of Copenhagen’s Rector Ralf Hemmingsen by e-mail. Three days later, the company received a call from the department head.

According to notes taken on this call, the department head said that he was under pressure from his Dean, and lawyers at the University, and that they had pressured him to make the call.

In the case, the researcher attempted to use fake bank account records to put the blame on an innocent 24-year old student assistant. The researcher was convicted in the Town Court, but the case has since been appealed to a higher court.

In a press release the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Ulla Wewer has subsequently rejected the claim that she asked Erling Mellerup to intervene and try to have the police complaint withdrawn.

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