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.
(Bloomberg) -- Landsbanki Islands hf’s winding-up and resolution committees are seeking compensation from the bank’s former executives for allegedly granting loans to related parties.
The committees want the executives who ran the bank in 2008 to pay it 30 billion kronur ($258 million) to 35 billion kronur in compensation for losses on the loans, they said in an e- mailed statement today following a creditors’ meeting. . .
The bank has taken decisions on 9,152 claims filed against it, the committees said in the statement.
“By far the greatest number” of claims discussed at previous creditor meetings “were objected to,” according to the statement. 01-Dec-10.
Creditors at Iceland’s banks said they will fight measures that hurt their financial interests after the government sought a guarantee from the country’s lenders that they forfeit their right to sue the state. . .
Creditors “reserve all rights to pursue any and all legal remedies to prevent the losses caused by the proposed legislation,” according to a letter signed by Ragnar Adalsteinsson, a lawyer with Adalsteinsson & Partners representing the Coordination Committee of the International Commercial Lenders Group, which includes creditors of Kaupthing Bank hf, Glitnir Bank hf and Landsbanki Islands hf.16-Nov-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.
Iceland will come under pressure to resolve the dispute over Icesave accounts and overhaul its fishing policies in talks to join the European Union that are scheduled to start next week, a draft EU document showed.
Negotiations are slated to begin on July 27 as Britain and the Netherlands seek compensation for losses of as much as $5.1 billion suffered by their investors in the 2008 collapse of Landsbanki Islands hf, which offered the high-yielding Icesave Internet accounts. . .
While the EU draft doesn’t mention the bank-compensation clash, it points out that any EU country could halt the talks at any time. The draft also doesn’t explicitly call on Iceland to give up whale hunting, a demand made by the European Parliament in a non-binding resolution this month. 22-Jul-10.
Two former executives of collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing were ordered on Friday to be held in police custody while prosecutors consider a criminal case against the pair.
Reykjavik District Court approved a request from the special prosecutor responsible for investigating the Icelandic banking crash of October 2008 to hold former CEO Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson for 12 days.
Magnus Gudmundsson, the former head of Kaupthing's Luxembourg operations, will be held for seven days.
Both men were detained Thursday -- the first high-profile arrests in the wake of the banking crash, which crippled Iceland's economy and forced out the tiny Nordic country's former leaders. . .
Iceland's Special Prosecutor Olafur Thor Hauksson said that Sigurdsson is suspected of falsifying documents and breaking laws on stock trading for personal gain. The Associated Press 07-May-10 ~ Bloomberg Business Week website.
Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Iceland is meeting with the U.K. and Netherlands today to try to restore relations after President Olafur R. Grimsson blocked a bill that had set out to compensate the two countries for depositor losses.
Iceland’s Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson will meet with his Dutch counterpart Wouter Bos and U.K. Treasury Minister Paul Myners to “exchange information and discuss the status” of the so-called Icesave accord, according to an e-mailed statement from the office of Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir today.
“The meeting isn’t defined as negotiations,” Einar Karl Haraldsson, Sigurdardottir’s spokesman, said in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t hold my breath over this meeting.”29-Jan-10.
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Iceland’s Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said his government won’t default after its debt was downgraded to junk following a presidential veto of a depositor bill that had sought to repair investor relations.
“I don’t believe there’s anything that points to” Iceland defaulting, Sigfusson said in an interview in Reykjavik yesterday. Even so, “patience toward Iceland is running out. That is a reality we have to face.” 06-Jan-10.