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UK News

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Iceland to Hold Referendum on Law to Repay $5 Billion U.K., Dutch Deposits

Iceland’s President Olafur R. Grimsson refused to sign a $5 billion accord struck in December with the U.K. and Netherlands to repay foreign depositor losses and said the bill must instead be put to a referendum.

Grimsson, whose announcement comes after 44 of parliament’s 63 lawmakers passed the bill, said he was responding to popular demand for a plebiscite after more than 42,000 of Iceland’s 318,000 inhabitants signed a petition asking him to block the accord . . .

It is unclear whether the British and Dutch will be willing to resume talks should the bill be voted down in a referendum, Finance Minister Steingrimur J. Sigfusson told reporters shortly after Grimsson announced his decision. Sigfusson said he plans to contact his counterparts in the two European Union members later today. 20-Feb-11.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-20/iceland-president-blocks-bill-guaranteeing-5-billion-u-k-dutch-deposits.html

New Icesave Deal Approved By Icelandinc Parliament But Will The President Sign It Into Law?

Iceland's lawmakers have approved another deal to repay 4 Billion Euros the UK and the Netherlands for the collapse of the Icesave Bank almost two years ago by a 44-16 margin with three abstentions. However, the big question is will President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson sign it?

So far the President has not said whether he would sign the bill or not. But according to recent statements he believes this deal is better than the one he vetoed last time.  The money is owed to the British and the Dutch governments for having  to reimburse almost half a million citizens following the collapse of Icesave and its parent company Landsbanki in 2008. . .

The Icelandic Government believes the total cost to the taxpayers would be much less than the 4 Billion Euros as most of the repayment would come from selling off the assets of Landsbanki.  eGovmonitor website. 16-Feb-11.

http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40782

Mervyn King drawn into fresh row over Icesave collapse

 

• Iceland's former central banker claims King gave assurances UK would not press for guarantee on £5bn of Britons' savings
• Spokesman for King issues denial and says he had been urging country 'for months' to shrink its banking system

A bitter war of words between Bank of England governor Mervyn King and his former counterpart in Iceland is threatening to reopen old wounds from the Icesave scandal, in which billions of pounds of British deposits were ensnared in the north Atlantic island's financial meltdown just over two years ago.

The row comes at a sensitive time in the Icesave saga as Icelandic MPs are scrutinising a controversial bill outlining terms under which Iceland would repay foreign governments that picked up the tab for retail deposit guarantees.  23-Jan-10.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/jan/23/icesave-banking

 

Icelandic banks 'broke the rules' before UK deposits

Glitnir and Landsbanki were breaching banking regulations by the time 64 British local authorities deposited most of their £800m into the Icelandic lenders, according to two secret reports on the collapse.

Documents commissioned by Iceland’s special prosecutor and seen by The Sunday Telegraph suggest Glitnir was operating below the legal limits of its capital adequacy ratios by the end of 2007. A second report for the prosecutor’s office claims Landsbanki also breached the conditions of its banking licence at the end of 2007.. . .

Both reports are critical of Landsbanki’s and Glitnir’s auditors, the Icelandic branch of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), arguing that it should have spotted mis-statements.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/8196161/Icelandic-banks-broke-the-rules-before-UK-deposits.html

 

Landsbanki administrators accuse auditor of negligence

PricewaterhouseCoopers warned it will face claims for damages on behalf of collapsed Icelandic bank's creditors.

Administrators to Landsbanki, the failed Icelandic bank behind the Icesave internet deposit account scandal, have accused the firm's former auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, of negligence, warning the accounting firm they expect to claim damages on behalf of creditors.

Landsbanki's creditors include more than 100 UK councils which placed a total £900m with Icesave and — unlike British retail savers — were not protected by a deposit guarantee. The negligence allegations set out at a creditors' meeting yesterday relate to PwC's audit of Landsbanki's 2007 accounts and an endorsement of its half-year financial update six months later. . .

The accusation against PwC's Iceland operations comes after a year of forensic investigations conducted by a team from Deloitte in London. As well as signalling their intention to pursue damages from PwC, administrators have filed a legal claim against former Landsbanki executives relating to losses of more than 30bn kronur (£165m). 01-Dec-10.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/01/pricewaterhousecoopers-accused-over-icesave

Iceland sees "Icesave" talks ending in 2010

(Reuters) - Negotiations on repayment of $5 billion (3 billion pounds) lost by British and Dutch investors in Iceland's 2008 banking crash are likely to be resolved by the end of this year, the island's foreign minister said on Tuesday. . .

The minister [Ossur Skarphedinsson] said he expected the parties to be able to conclude the talks within a month, "In a manner that both sides will be, perhaps not happy with, but content." 02-Nov-10.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6A14J920101102

EFTA extends Iceland Icesave deadline

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.

http://www.icenews.is/index.php/2010/07/24/efta-extends-iceland-icesave-deadline/

Iceland, British, Dutch officials try to revive Icesave talks

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.

http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/iceland-british-dutch-officials-try-to-revive-icesave-talks-afp-61b18461a966.html?x=0

Does anyone remember Icesave?

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.

http://uti.is/2010/05/does-anyone-remember-icesave/

Court to review FSA role over Icelandic bank collapse

The former chief executive of Singer & Friedlander is preparing to take the Financial Services Authority to judicial review over its refusal to hold an inquiry into the failure of the Icelandic banks. Tony Shearer, who led the 100-year-old City investment bank before it was taken over by Kaupthing in 2005, accuses the regulator of not doing enough to prevent the crash that cost the British taxpayer £8bn and left hundreds of UK savers out of pocket. . .

Mr Shearer has written to Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, Lord Myners, the City minister, and Lord Turner, chairman of the FSA, asking for a formal inquiry into why all the warning signs about the instability and potential criminal activity at Kaupthing were ignored. . .

However, the FSA has washed its hands of responsibility for the bank's activities in London before the crash, claiming that it was powerless to act when the home regulator in Iceland was meant to be monitoring Kaupthing.

Lord Turner has told Mr Shearer that he sees no need for a public inquiry, adding "there is nothing further to be gained from further exchanges on the subject of Icelandic banks and our past regulation of banks generally".

Hundreds of UK-based savers with Kaupthing in the Isle of Man and Landsbanki in Guernsey have still not been fully compensated for their losses, while dozens of British councils, hospitals and charities are also waiting in line with commercial creditors.

"The papers have reported that you have called for the FSA to carry out a special investigation into Goldman Sachs," Mr Shearer wrote to Mr Brown. "Will you now call for the FSA to carry out and publish such an investigation into the activities in the UK of Kaupthing and the other Icelandic banks? 09-May-10.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/7701701/Court-to-review-FSA-role-over-Icelandic-bank-collapse.html

 

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