30-Mar-2016: Liquidators' Update, see Deloitte site

Iceland Review

This page contains brief summaries of and links to media reports from the source Iceland Review.

Custody Confirmed over Former Landsbanki CEO

The Supreme Court of Iceland confirmed yesterday the verdict of Reykjavík District Court that former CEO of Landsbanki, Sigurjón Th. Árnason, is to remain in custody until January 25. Árnason had appealed the District Court’s verdict. . .

Iceland’s Special Prosecutor is currently investigating alleged market abuse at Landsbanki from 2003 to 2008.  19-Jan-10.

Icesave Deal on the Horizon?

Negotiations on Landsbanki’s Icesave deposits in the UK and the Netherlands are said to be going well and an agreement might even be underway, in as soon as two months, according to the sources of Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV.

It can now be stated with more certainty how much the assets of Landsbanki are worth and it is considered likely that approximately 90 percent of the Icesave debt can be obtained with their sale, reports.

Moreover, a larger part of these assets are in cash than when the Icesave negotiations were initially launched.

However, RÚV’s sources state that certain disputes have yet to be resolved, which impacts the agreement’s final conclusion, such as when repayment is to begin and in what length of time the amount will be paid back.[Ends.] 19-Oct-10.

USA at Peace with Iceland? Ambassador finally arriving

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.

Landsbanki to seek two Billion Dollars from Former Owners and Management

The winding-up committee of Landsbanki is now in the final stages of preparing a number of cases against former management and the owners according to Morgunbladid. The amount that the board asks for as reimbursement amounts to 0.75 billon USD (90 billion ISK). The board also asks for eight billion ISK insurance payment, because of criminal activity on behalf of the former management of the bank.

The winding-up committee last summer hired a team of specialists from Deloitte in Britain to investigate the bank before the October 2008 crash. Herdís Hallmarsdóttir, who is on the winding-up committee says that the investigation is making good progress, but is not yet finished. . . .

Two of the three former owners of Landsbanki, Björgólfur Gudmundsson and Magnús Thorsteinsson are now legally bankrupt. The third owner, Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, is still liquid. The CEOs of the bank were Sigurjón Árnason and Halldór J. Kristjánsson.  15-May-10.

BREAKING NEWS! Icesave Dispute Resolved

Just now the governments of Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands signed an agreement on the repayment scheme of Landsbanki’s Icesave deposits. Negotiations were believed to be at standstill and therefore this sudden solution came as a surprise.

However, negotiations had actually been taken place under a veil of secrecy for weeks—given that this solution is extremely radical they had to be secret, explained Icelandic Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon.  01-Apr-10.

Icesave Analysis: Make Us an Offer We Can’t Refuse

After the one-sided Icesave-vote last weekend not much has happened officially. The Icelandic government has stressed that the dispute must be put to a rest as soon as possible. The opposition leaders have said that unless an acceptable accord is reached they will not go along with an agreement. This has lead to declarations by Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir that the government might try to finish the negotiations alone. This declaration has a hollow ring, considering that the government has in fact been sent back twice because of widespread opposition. . .

So the question is. How can this be ended? Both the British and the Dutch government know that payment will take years as Alistair Darling said in an interview on Sunday. The burden of the payment will be carried by the now defunct Landsbanki, which should rightfully pay anyway. The dispute turns around a government guarantee for the full amount with interest.  12-mar-10.

No to Icesave

Christian II, King of Denmark and Iceland, tried to sell Iceland to King Henry VIII and the Dutch cities in 1509. . .

. . .I don’t understand the attempts of the British and Dutch governments to force the Icelandic public to pay debts which we did not create at all.

Most of the funds accumulated by the Icesave accounts by the crazy bankers at Landsbanki were used to fuel businesses and acquisitions in the UK and the Netherlands. The bank paid taxes in these two countries.

Lansbanki bank should also have been monitored properly by the authorities in these countries when it offered higher interest rates than all other banks.

I’ve always argued that the remaining assets of the crashed Landsbanki should be used to pay the Icesave account holders as far as they can cover the amounts. That would simply be fair. It has been claimed by our government that these assets will cover up to 90 percent of the Icesave debt. 04-Mar-10.

Dutch Central Banker: Icelanders Lied about Icesave

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.

Landsbanki Major Shareholder's Books a Mess

During the bankruptcy proceedings of Samson, a holding company that was owned by tycoon father and son Björgólfur Gudmundsson and Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, through which they held their majority share in Landsbanki, it has turned out that the company’s book-keeping was full of glitches.

Loan agreements are lacking in the case of many high transactions, including to four offshore companies in Tortola, worth ISK 800 million (USD 6.4 million, EUR 4.4 million) in total, Stöd 2 reports.  13-Jan-10.

Analysis: Icesave: The President’s Dilemma

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson did not sign the Icesave-bill into law at a meeting with the cabinet yesterday. This was highly unusual, since usually the President would use the occasion to sign all laws ratified by Althingi, Iceland’s Parliament. . .

Many take this as an indication that the President will refuse to sign. He is in a very difficult spot. When he signed a previous bill on Icesave, passed by Althingi in late August 2009 he indicated that the reason was that many preconditions had been set in that bill. Those conditions have been watered out on the insistence of the British and Dutch governments. . .

Two days ago about 35 thousand people have signed a petition urging the President not to sign the bill. At the time of writing in the afternoon of January 1 the number has gone up to almost 55 thousand. 01-Jan-10.

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