Teitur Atlason, hands down one of Iceland’s best bloggers [who actually writes from Sweden] calls attention to an interesting development on his blog: a young, up-and-coming politician named Erla Ósk Ásgeirsdóttir is taking a seat in parliament today on behalf of the Independence Party.
One of Erla Ósk’s greatest career accomplishments is to have planned the wildly successful marketing campaign behind the Icesave accounts when she was employed by Landsbanki.
In other words, holding a seat in parliament is a woman with first-hand knowledge of how those criminal bank accounts were marketed. A woman who is, in part, responsible for the greatest disgrace that Icelanders have seen and experienced on their own skins. Iceland Weather Report website - 02-Feb-10.
Arnold Schilder, former head of the inner supervision of the Dutch Central Bank said the Icelandic Central Bank had lied about the situation of Landsbanki’s Icesave savings scheme up until the banking collapse of October 2008 during a parliamentary inquest into the global credit crisis in the Netherlands yesterday.
“I have to say that our Icelandic colleagues were not telling us the truth. We often asked them straight out how it was going and they always answered with Hallelujah stories, that nothing was wrong. Not even in August and September 2008,” Schilder told the parliamentary committee, RÚV reports.
Schilder said Nout Wellink, the president of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, had also received similar answers.
Wellink was also called before the parliamentary committee yesterday to discuss other aspects of the crisis. On Thursday he will answer the committee’s questions about Icesave. That day, Dutch Minister of Finance Wouter Bos will also be called before the committee. 02-Feb-10.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Finance ministers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Iceland met in The Hague Friday to discuss the Icesave savings account dispute, an official says.
Einar Haraldsson, spokesman for Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Siguroardottir, confirmed Icelandic finance chief Steingrimur Sigfusson was in the Netherlands to meet informally with the country's finance minister, Wouter Bos, and British Finance Minister Paul Myners, the EUobserver reported. 29-Jan-10.
The President of Iceland said yesterday that his country would press ahead with a referendum on whether or not to pay the British and Dutch governments compensation for losses they incurred during his country's financial crisis.
Ólafur Grimsson spoke as Icelandic officials met the City minister, Lord Myners, and his Dutch counterpart to discuss the $5.7bn (£3.5bn) the island nation owes for money that Britain and the Netherlands used to compensate their depositors in Icesave, the internet bank that collapsed with its parent Landsbanki in October 2008.
Mr Grimsson said: "For an entire nation to vote on to what extent they are willing to shoulder this burden is to me a pinnacle of democracy." Opinion polls suggest that on 9 March Icelanders will vote against a Bill authorising repayments. 30-Jan-10.
THE HAGUE/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Leaders from across Iceland's political spectrum met Dutch and British ministers on Friday over more than $5 billion in "Icesave" bad bank debts, but the talks ended with no signs of progress. The Dutch and Icelandic finance ministries said that "parties exchanged views" at The Hague talks on the dispute surrounding losses on online accounts at Icelandic banks which collapsed in late 2008. "The sides will now consider the situation after this meeting, but at this stage no further discussions are scheduled," the ministries said in separate statements. 30-Jan-10.
THE HAGUE/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Leaders from across Iceland's political spectrum met Dutch and British ministers on Friday over more than $5 billion in "Icesave" bad bank debts, but the talks ended with no signs of progress.
The Dutch and Icelandic finance ministries said that "parties exchanged views" at The Hague talks on the dispute surrounding losses on online accounts at Icelandic banks which collapsed in late 2008.
"The sides will now consider the situation after this meeting, but at this stage no further discussions are scheduled," the ministries said in separate statements. 30-Jan-10.
After looking more at this interesting document called: Report on moratorium and other issues concerning Landsbanki Íslands hf. One chapter caught my attention more than others. Page 9 and 10 in the document is the explanation of the banking crisis and economic crisis in Iceland. . .
This [the report] is correct up to a point. They stretch the explanation far by blaming the whole collapse in Iceland and of the banks on the international credit liquidity crisis or the credit crunch that went in free fall with the Lehman Brothers collapse.
To say that this was the only reason is not only simplistic, but misleading as well. What about all the money leaving all the banks? What about all the loans and financial acrobatics to owners, offshore companies and strange business partners? What about all the investments abroad and in Iceland in companies and individuals without collateral?
To answer this so people understand: It is insane for the resolution committee to actually blame the whole system failure in Iceland on the international credit crunch. Independent Icelandic News website 30-Jan-10.
Iceland is famous for its sagas. But the latest one is truly dramatic: the balance sheets of its privatised financial sector grew from twice to 10 times gross domestic product, in five years. In the absence of a lender of last resort, this story had to end badly. In the panic of 2008, it did.
Because Iceland was a member of the European Economic Area, its banks were allowed to set up branches freely. To raise money, Landsbanki, one of Iceland’s now collapsed banks, set up an internet bank, Icesave, which gulled depositors by offering attractive interest rates. Under the European Union directive, Iceland also had an obligation to establish a deposit insurance scheme, which it did, through a levy on those banks.
Then came the collapse. Some Icelanders blame Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, for pulling the plug on their banks. That is unreasonable. Competent observers had long concluded that the financial system was a house of cards. It was sure to collapse in a panic. Less unreasonable is the complaint over the UK’s use of a section of its anti-terrorism laws to freeze assets. But some such action was justified.
Since the banks had turned Iceland into a hedge fund, with massive short-term foreign currency liabilities used to finance risky long-term assets, the economy was doomed. 14-Jan-10.
Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Iceland’s President Olafur R. Grimsson said the island’s economy will emerge unscathed by his decision to put to a referendum a U.K. and Dutch depositor bill that polls show voters will reject.
“Nothing very serious will happen to the economy because then we will go back to the agreement which was made last summer between these two countries,” Grimsson said in an interview in New Delhi today, where he is being awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. Business Week website - 14-Jan-10.
Iceland cannot agree how much it owes for the failure of Icesave's parent, Landsbanki, which meant the UK Treasury had to rescue 300,000 savers in October 2008.
Both the International Monetary Fund and Sweden signalled that their hands were tied by the fact that Iceland is unlikely to reach an agreement before a a review of aid for the country is completed later this month. 14-Jan-10.
Niklas Pollard, Reykjavik - Reuters:
Iceland's economy minister said on Wednesday there were signs an IMF-led aid package would be delayed after a hitch in a deal to repay Britain and the Netherlands money lost in the island's banking collapse.
Economy Minister Gylfi Magnusson said the centre-left government was “very far” from a solution which could lead to a new repayment deal and allow the government to cancel a planned referendum in Iceland on the issue.
“Obviously the Icelandic government is trying everything it can to prevent a delay (to the IMF program), but I think the odds are against us,” Mr. Magnusson said in a Reuters interview, pointing to delays last year due to the drawn-out dispute. . .
An agreement with the two European Union countries is seen as key for the continued flow of aid to Iceland to underpin an economic recovery from a deep recession after its main banks all collapsed in the space of a week in 2008. Toronto Globe and Mail website - 12-Jan-10.