The judgement against Denmark’s former quota king Henning Kjeldsen and co-defendants, found guilty in a district court of quota misdemeanours, has been overturned by a the Danish Western High Court.
He and his co-defendants had faced a complex array of charges that concerned placing quotas in the ownership of proxy companies to get around ownership ceilings.
The original trial resulted in some eye-watering penalties, ranging from DKK54 million to DKK500,000, while the defendants advisers, a lawyer and an accountant, were also found guilty of contributing to the violations. They and their companies were landed with fines of between DKK 1 and 3 million, while substantial amounts were also confiscated from the fishing companies concerned.
In launching their appeal, the defendants claimed that the regulations relating to quota aggregation which were the basis of the prosecution’s case did not authorise penalties at the time of the infringements.
The Western High Court ruled that penalties could not be justified – and some substantial repayments will have to be made to the defendants.