The United States have not had an ambassador in Iceland since spring 2009. In April 2010 President Obama appointed Luis E. Arreaga Rhodas as ambassador in Iceland. . . This is because of an insult to the previous US ambassador by President Ólafur Ragnar Grímssson. . .
The reason for a long period of official chill between Iceland is rooted in the event last year when the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, announced to her on April 8 that she would be honored with the Order of the Falcon, the highest recognition of the Icelandic state. When Ambassador von Voorst was on her way to the presidential residence Bessastadir to formally accept the Order, she received a phone call explaining that the announcement had been sent by mistake and that she would not receive the Order after all . . .
Grímsson allegedly explained to her that only those who were deemed worthy were honored this way. In the past decades, three US Ambassadors to Iceland have received the Order of the Falcon.
President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson did present the Order of the Falcon to Björgólfur Gudmundsson, then chairman and owner of Landsbanki. . . Mr. Gudmundsson was deemed worthy. 13-Sep-10.
A special investigation committee, known popularly as the Truth Commission, recommended that Geir Haarde, the former prime minister, stand trial, along with Björgvin Sigurdsson, the former minister of commerce, and Árni Mathiesen, the former minister of finance.
It found during an 18-month inquiry that the three men showed recklessness in their handling of Iceland's financial crisis, which brought down its three banks and crippled the currency in October 2008 . . .
Johanna Sigurdardottir, Iceland's left-leaning Prime Minister, called the report's conclusions "a serious accusation against our political system, our politicians, the parliament, stock market". 12-Sep-10.
Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Iceland's parliament must decide whether to charge leading members of the country's 2008 cabinet with negligence that contributed to the island's banking collapse after a committee recommended they be indicted.
The parliamentary committee will ask the Reykjavik-based legislature to indict former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, former Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, former Finance Minister Arni M. Mathiesen and former Business Minister Bjorgvin G. Sigurdsson, according to a written motion delivered to lawmakers today. . .
Iceland’s new Economy Minister Arni Pall Arnason wants to make clear to the U.K. and Netherlands his government won’t negotiate a depositor claims settlement at any price and may resort to the courts in pursuit of better terms. . .
Moody’s in July said continued failure to resolve the Icesave dispute may prompt the International Monetary Fund and other lenders to withhold future disbursements. Iceland has been relying on a $4.6 billion IMF-led loan since 2008 to stay afloat. The fund said on July 23 it was aiming to conduct its third review of Iceland’s loan in early September. Arnason said a date for that review has yet to be set. 08-Sep-10.
Creditors of failed Icelandic lender Landsbanki Islands hf will get next to nothing back from their investments after assets are sold to cover the bank’s priority claims, Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said.
The comments end hopes creditors, including BNP Paribas SA and Nordea Bank AB, may have had of recouping their share of $27.4 billion in debt owed them since Landsbanki’s collapse in October 2008.
“The general claimants in Landsbanki are not likely to get much, if anything,” Sigfusson said in an interview in Reykjavik yesterday. “In the other banks, the situation is better and they will get some return,” he said, referring to bond holders in Kaupthing Bank hf and Glitnir Bank hf. . .
The government is considering guaranteeing the portion of $5.2 billion in Landsbanki’s depositor claims that won’t be covered by asset liquidations, estimated at about 10 percent, Sigfusson said. That includes Icesave deposits and other claims against collateral. 24-Aug-10.
The Icelandic authorities have been given an extended deadline to respond to a letter from the EFTA concerning the Icesave dispute.
ESA, the EFTA Surveillance Authority, sent a letter in May detailing that it feels the Icelandic government must pay the Netherlands and the United Kingdom back the minimum contractual amount for the money the two countries spent in compensating customers of the failed Icesave internet bank, run by Iceland’s Landsbanki.
RUV reports that the Icelandic government was given two months to respond to the letter or face possible expulsion from the European Free Trade Association. The original deadline was next Monday, but has now been extended to the beginning of September – possibly because of ongoing negotiations between the three countries involved.
Iceland has always expressed its intention to pay, but the EFTA wants to know when. [Ends] 24-July-10.
Representatives of Iceland, Britain and the Netherlands met in Reykjavik this week to prepare further talks on a new repayment deal to cover the collapse of the Icesave bank, the Icelandic government said Friday. . .
"The purpose of the meetings was primarily to exchange information and to prepare further talks later this year," it said, pointing out that "this is the first time the parties meet since the talks were adjourned on March 5." 02-Jul-10.
A group of international banks has filed a legal challenge against the Landsbanki dissolution committee claiming that they should be treated as priority claimants. If they win, only 30-35 percent of the bank’s assets will go to pay Icesave.
According to Old Landsbanki, Iceland’s emergency banking laws allow the bank to classify the Dutch and British depositors’ insurance funds as priority claimants; but other creditors to the bankrupt bank, including big banks and bondholders, have decided to challenge the decision in court under Iceland’s bankruptcy laws. 29-May-10.
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) yesterday sent a letter outlining its decision that Iceland is legally bound to insure the minimum deposit guarantee to British and Dutch Icesave account holders. The guarantee is part of Iceland’s EEA (European Economic Area) membership agreement.
The minimum depositors’ guarantee is EUR 20,000 per saver in the failed Icesave internet savings accounts which were run as a branch of Landsbanki before it collapsed in autumn 2008. The EFTA report states that the UK and the Netherlands have reimbursed their own savers and that Iceland’s severe recession does not diminish the country’s obligation to pay the two governments back.
The Icelandic government had insisted in a letter to the EFTA that the existence of a depositors’ guarantee fund in the country was enough to fulfil the requirements of the EU directive on cross border banking and also that the rules do not fully apply in the case of the collapse of an entire national banking system (as happened in Iceland). The EFTA disagrees with this reading of European law. 27-May-10.
It’s as if Icesave has completely evaporated from the agenda in the three countries involved – Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands – but the accounts haven’t yet be settled. Iceland still owes money to the UK and the Netherlands as the two countries compensated the deposit holders according the EU insurance guarantee regulation.
The IMF has recently passed fund’s programme on Iceland to the next level. The prerequisite had been to solve the Icesave dispute – since it is a major economic variable – but Iceland found a way to satisfy the fund’s demand though nothing has been resolved. As so often, Iceland seems hell-bent on wriggling out of the Icesave fetters rather than solving the matter. It remains to be seen how the matter evolves now that there is a new government in place in the UK. Sigrúm Davidsdóttir's Icelog Blog - 19-May-19.