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Convictions in Danish celebrity-snooping case

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/24/2016 By JAN M. OLSEN, Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A former employee of a payment-processing company and a former chief editor of a gossip magazine were convicted Thursday for illegally accessing credit card transactions and using them to track Danish royals and celebrities for four years.

Judge Mette Lyster Knudsen sentenced Peter Bo Henriksen, who got information through his previous job with the Nets company, to 18 months in jail. Henrik Qvortrup, formerly chief editor of Se og Hoer magazine, was given 18 months of which 12 were converted into 200 hours' community service.

Lyster Knudsen of the Glostrup city court also handed down suspended sentences to another chief editor and two reporters, ranging from four to 12 months. A third, temporary chief editor was acquitted. All have since left the weekly, one of Denmark's largest.

One of the reporters, Ken B. Rasmussen, related in a 2014 book how reporters at Se og Hoer used information from a secret source with access to a card-payment company's computers.

Qvortrup made the deal with Henriksen, who was paid 10,000 kroner ($1,400) monthly. Between 2008 and 2012, Henriksen provided the magazine with details about the credit card use of 135 Danish royals and celebrities.

All the defendants had pleaded innocent. Henriksen appealed the ruling immediately while the others said they would consider an appeal.

Lars Werge, head of Denmark's Union of Journalists, said it was "serious and unique case in Danish press history," adding "we need to rebuild the journalistic credibility that has suffered a shatter."

The case has been compared to that at defunct British tabloid News of the World, which was engulfed in a phone-hacking scandal.

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