Peter Adler Alberti
Alberti was a solicitor, the son of a well-respected liberal politician who had been a pioneer of the Danish savings bank system. This family background made his own career as the leader of Den sjællandske Bondestands Sparekasse from 1890 but very early he was also involved in speculations and doubtful economic transactions partly due to his ludomania. Later on it has become clear that he had been guilty of severe embezzlement from a very early stage. Perhaps in order to neutralise further attacks he entered politics in 1892 representing the right wing of the liberal movement. However he joined the united Venstre Reform Party in 1895, making himself the right hand of J. C. Christensen.
From 1901 to 1908 Albert was the first Venstre Minister of Juridical Affairs, at which post he showed himself an able and efficient politician although often authoritarian and brash. During this period he was subjected to harder and harder accusations of economic dishonesty by radicals and Social Democrats. Prime minister J. C. Christensen ignored the critics as long as possible but in the end had to ask Alberti to resign. A few months later, on 8 September 1908, Alberti turned himself in to the police for embezzlement of 18 million DKK (Roughly 1 billion DKK as of 2006). He was sentenced 8 years in 'Tugthus' (imprisonment at hard labor) and was imprisoned from 1912 to 1917. After his release he lived quietly as a clerk. He was killed in a traffic accident.
The affair was a scandal that echoed over all of Europe and also involved Alberti’s British business partners. In Denmark it led to the fall of the Christensen cabinet and for some years it poisoned the political atmosphere in Denmark. It is therefore still considered one of the most serious swindles of modern Danish history.
- Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, vol. 1, Copenhagen, 1979.
- Svend Thorsen: De danske ministerier, vol. 2, Copenhagen, 1972.
|Justice Minister of Denmark
24 July 1901 – 24 July 1908