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Denmark's former foreign intelligence chief charged with spying

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By Euronews  with AP
Lars Findsen led Denmark's foreign intelligence service (FE) from 2015 until 2020.
Lars Findsen led Denmark's foreign intelligence service (FE) from 2015 until 2020.   -   Copyright  Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix via AP, File

Denmark’s former foreign intelligence chief has been formally charged with leaking highly classified information.

Lars Findsen is accused of revealing state secrets and confidential documents to six different people -- including two journalists -- over a number of months.

The information dates back to when he headed the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) from 2015 until he was suspended in August 2020. He has rejected the allegations.

"It is, of course, serious when secrets or other confidential information, which is essential for the intelligence services' work to protect Denmark’s security, is passed on to outsiders," prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said in a statement.

“It can damage the relationship with the intelligence services' business partners, and it can make it more difficult for them to carry out their work if their working methods are revealed," Nielsen added.

"The trust that the intelligence services can care about sensitive information is weakened."

The charges come after “a long and extensive investigation” by police and Denmark's domestic intelligence service, which Findsen had also led from 2002 to 2007.

The prosecution has said it will request a prison sentence of "less than four years" and has asked for any trial to be held behind closed doors.