Many words but no action in Liberia vs Cortzen
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
21/08/2012 - The government of Liberia has not followed up on its announcement almost three weeks ago that it will take legal action against Danish director Mads Brügger (photo - Cortzen), because he allegedly used an fake diplomat title when filming his award-winning documentary, The Ambassador (2011).
In the film, Brügger used a diplomatic passport – as Consul General and Ambassador-At-Large accredited to the Central African Republic – when travelling to the former French colony under the guise of opening a factory for matches made by Pygmies, while everybody he meets is convinced he is after diamonds.
"Mr. Cortzen admits that he fraudulently purchased a Liberian diplomatic position and passport for $150,000 through a network that advertises and unauthoringly sells diplomatic positions of struggling countries," said the Liberian Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, in an official press release.
“Shocked at Mr Cortzen, an admitted fraudster," the Government has launched a full-scale investigation into how he breached the system, and will institute legal action, “seeking the appropriate explanations and redress from the Central African Republic and Denmark through diplomatic channels."
"I wanted to make a film that took Africa back to Graham Greene and The Wild Geese, Africa of the 1970s, a film that had funny moments amidst all the horror," explained Brügger of The Ambassador, which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival in the US and won a Danish Robert Award for Best Full-Length Documentary.
"In spite of the announcement, neither the director, we nor the Danish Foreign Ministry have so far had an official approach from Liberia," said the film's producer Peter Engel, of Zentropa Entertainments' documentary section, Real. "Anyway, I have a receipt from the Liberian Foreign Ministry for the title I bought for Brügger."