The Danish film producer Mads Brügger Cortzen has fallen foul of the Liberian
authorities in connection with a dramadoc he has produced in which he bribed
his way to diplomatic status from Liberia in order to buy blood diamonds
from the Central African Republic.
“The government of Liberia will institute legal action against Mr. Cortzen and
is seeking the appropriate explanations and redress from the governments of
the Central African Republic and Denmark through diplomatic channels,” an
online statement from the Liberian government says.
Brügger, who posed as a matchstick maker wanting to open a factory, seems
unperturbed: “Let’s see what comes out of it, but it seems strange to me
that I am the first one to be targeted,” says the film producer, who is
currently in New Zealand promoting his film.
“If a journalist from Liberia had found it possible to bribe the Danish
foreign minister and make a fool of Denmark’s leading company lawyer, it
would be strange if the Danish authorities started by prosecuting the
Liberian journalist,” Brügger says.
He says that apart from cooperating with the Liberian foreign minister at the
time – who is now vice president of the African economic cooperation ECOWAS
– he also had contact with the then chairman of Nobel Laureate President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party.
“They’ve a long way to go before they get to him, as how many others did I
have to go through before getting there,” says Brügger, making light of the
suit and suggesting he has no plans to return to Liberia, despite accepting
he had broken Liberian law.
“The Liberian courts and prison service are not the best in the world. We are
speaking of a country in which the president’s son is chairman of the
national oil company, despite the fact that he knows next to nothing about
oil,” Brugger says, adding that Liberia’s reaction may simply be a sham
brought about after questions have been raised.
“It’s embarrassing for them. They have previously promised that they have
stopped the sale of diplomatic titles, so it’s embarrassing that my film
shows that is not the case,” Brügger says.
DOCUMENTATION: Read Liberia’s accusations here
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