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‘Bedraget’ – the story of Denmark’s biggest swindler

It has been called Denmark's biggest corporate scandal. The CEO drowned himself in a bathtub, and Nordisk Fjer collapsed over a weekend leaving behind billions of kroners of debt. For the first time the full story has been told in 'Bedraget', that became one of Lindhardt & Ringhof's absolute bestsellers last year.

He was discovered in the bathtub. He had taken his own life, alone in his summer cottage. That was when the scandal really gathered momentum. Twenty-four years have passed since Nordisk Fjer crashed almost overnight, leaving in its wake fraud and debt to the tune of billions of kroner. The true sequence of events has never fully come to light. Until now.

Author Charlotte Langkilde has spent the last 14 years delving into the massive web of deceit that CEO Johannes Petersen wove around his 4,500 employees: a web so intricate that neither employees, the board, company auditors nor the media could see through it.

The result of her investigation is a 752-page documentary thriller that Lindhardt & Ringhof has reprinted five times in just six months. Topping the bestseller lists for several months during the autumn of 2013, the book is now to be turned into a film.

'Bedraget' came out in September 2013, first receiving reviewer accolades, then becoming a commercial hit, notching up top positions on the Danish bestseller lists and later attracting three film companies who fought for the film rights. Editor at Lindhardt & Ringhof, Elise Nørholm is proud of the book's achievements.

'Although not surprised, we're thrilled the book got such a positive reception. The scepticism of some journalists when we started airing the idea – it was an old case, and wasn't 750 pages a bit over the top – vanished in the blink of an eye when the book was actually published and people started reading it. We're really proud of that,' says Elise Nørholm.