It is believed as many as seven people will bear witness today at the Reykjavik District Court in the case against Baldur Gudlaugsson, former permanent secretary at Iceland’s Ministry of Finance.
Jonina S. Larusdottir, former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, is at the top of the witness list . . .
It was also expected that Ingimundur Fridriksson, former director of the central bank, and Halldor J. Kristjansson, former director of Landsbanki, would testify today by telephone. The judge decided at the beginning of proceedings this morning that they need to testify in person. They will therefore be called upon at a later date.
Gudlaugsson is accused of insider trading, allegedly having sold all his personal Landsbanki shares shortly after sitting in on a meeting with UK Chancellor Alistair Darling and shortly before the bank’s collapse in the autumn of 2008. 02-Mar-11.
A report on behalf of Iceland’s Special Prosecutor into the banking crisis says that the Icesave debt upon the Icelandic state would have been massively lower had PricewaterhouseCoopers, Landsbanki’s external auditing company, done its job properly.
According to the report’s Norwegian main author, if PricewaterhouseCoopers had been honest in its reporting of Landsbanki, the bank would have lost its operating licence no later than the end of 2007.
Among other things, the report criticises the auditors for not having flagged up the so-called Icelandic Affair. The Icelandic Group took massive loans from Landsbanki and was allowed to continue borrowing after it became apparent the company would have difficulty servicing its debts. Icelandic Group was saved from being put on Landsbanki’s defaulters’ list by a EUR 40 million loan from Grettir ehf. Grettir ehf. in fact got the 40 million directly from Landsbanki and all three companies involved were owned by Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson. . . 10-Dec-10.
It is now believed that 93 percent of Icesave and other priority foreign claimants can be covered by the assets of Old Landsbanki. [Our emphasis.]
The bank’s resolution committee presented its accounts for the third quarter and a claimants’ meeting in London today, RUV reports.
There was an ISK 18 billion (USD 161.3 million) improvement in the capital retrieval of the old bank during the quarter. According to the resolution committee, roughly ISK 92 billion is now expected to fall on the shoulders of the Icelandic taxpayer – which is a lower figure than previously estimated.
The rate of recovery for domestic claimants in Icelandic kronur is slightly lower, at an estimated 86 percent. [Ends] 10-Nov-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.
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.
Pall Benediktsson, spokesman for the Landsbanki resolution committee, says that a special investigations team at the auditing company Deloitte has been preparing a report into alleged misconduct at Landsbanki before the crash in autumn 2008.
“There they have professional bookkeeping investigators doing much the same as Kroll for Glitnir. They will hand in their report on their investigation at the next bank creditors’ meeting on 27th May,” Benediktsson told Visir.is . . .
Benediktsson is unhappy at an article published this week on Visir.is saying that the Landsbanki committee constantly drags its feet on communicating openly compared to its Kaupthing and Glitnir counterparts. He said it is simply not true that the committee has been withholding information. 15-May-10.
The long awaited ‘Black Report’ into Iceland’s economic crisis is set to be delayed once again due to the long responses received from implicated parties.
The report by the Althingi investigation committee will be delayed by a further two to three weeks while committee members go over the more than 500 pages of answers received from the 12 current and former public officials formally invited to reply to committee accusations before publication of the report.
The report was originally scheduled for release last autumn and then delayed until the beginning of February, then the beginning of March and now, again, until two to three weeks into March, RUV reports. This time, the committee has not committed itself to a specific date.
A statement from the committee stated that the answers received represent the final materials needed and all that remains to do is to correlate the findings and print the extensive document. At this stage it is already logistically impossible to release it before the 11th March. 27-Feb-10.
The leaders of Iceland’s political parties have decided to politely request further talks with the British and Dutch authorities over Icesave.
The meeting between Icelandic government and opposition party leaders has just finished where it was decided that no counter offer will be sent to this weekend’s Icesave repayment proposal from the British and Dutch governments. Instead, the party leaders have decided to send a courteous response to London and The Hague requesting a further trilateral meeting of the three nations’ negotiating teams.
Both the government parties and the opposition parties agreed at the meeting that the new offer is not acceptable. It still needs amendments. 22-Feb-10.
The Icelandic government intends to propose paying no interest on its Icesave debt.
According to RUV, the Icelandic government could save around ISK 130 billion if interest on the Icesave debt is removed from the total bill at negotiations with the Dutch and British authorities, which start next week. 12-Feb-10.