Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Iceland Continues To Hold Financial Plunderers Accountable.

Iceland Continues To Hold Financial Plunderers Accountable.

In the USA we bail out the frauds and the failed, scold them for renewing their old ways, perks, golden parachutes, convoluted salaries and egomaniacal arrogance.

In Iceland they investigate them, arrest them, prosecute them, send their asses to jail and seize everything that can repay a nation. They even have a married Lesbian Holy Terror Prime Minister…and we considered ourselves enlightened, evolved and committed to principles and justice. 

What a joke!

More On Iceland Bank Boss Pay And The Demise Of Spkef

Following this weekend’s two big Icelandic banking stories, further information and opinions have come forward, among others from Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, who says that bank directors’ huge salaries are a direct provocation so soon after the banking crash.

It emerged during the last week that the directors of Islandsbanki and Arion Bank are taking home millions of kronur each month in salary and that Arion has awarded its boss nearly 45 percent more pay in 2010 than in 2009.

On her Facebook page, the Prime Minister said that such sums of money are completely unfair while so many in Iceland are still struggling with the worst effects of 2008′s banking crash. An Arion board member meanwhile defended the move, saying that the higher wage relates to a new bank director and is therefore not a pay rise but a whole new employment contract.

The other big banking story of the weekend was the merger of SpKef into Landsbanki due to the savings bank’s terrible liquidity position.

Minister of Finance Steingrimur J. Sigfusson told RUV that he would have liked to rescue the bank, which he described as a linchpin of the savings banks network; but added that it would have cost the state as much as ISK 20 billion (EUR 124.2 million). By forcing Landsbanki to take over the troubled bank, the taxpayer is saving at least ISK 8 billion, he said. This means, however, that the state is still faced with a roughly 12 billion krona bill.

Some 120 people worked for SpKef and Landsbanki has promised to save all the jobs it can — although it will not rule out redundancies outright. SpKef branches in Isafjordur, Olafsvik, Grindavik and Reykjanesbaer will be closed down and merged with local Landsbanki branches. The other 14 (mostly rural) SpKef branches will remain open but will be re-branded as Landsbanki.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland's prime minister has married her partner under a new law legalizing same-sex marriage in the country.
One of her advisers, Hrannar B. Arnarsson, said Monday Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and writer Jonina Leosdottir were officially married Sunday, the day the law came into force.
The pair has been in a registered partnership since 2002 and had applied to have it converted into a marriage under the new law. No ceremony was held.
The law was passed without a dissenting vote in Iceland's parliament June 11.
Social Democrat Sigurdardottir, 68, became Iceland's prime minister last year, after the previous center-right government was ousted by a wave of protest triggered by the country's economic crisis.

REYKJAVIK, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Iceland's president on Sunday triggered a referendum on an updated plan to repay $5 billion to Britain and the Netherlands for debts incurred in the financial crisis, renewing uncertainty over economic recovery.
Iceland, where the economy and financial system crashed in late 2008, owes Britain and the Netherlands money they used to bail out domestic savers who lost money in online "Icesave" accounts run by a failed Icelandic bank.
Icelandic President Olafur Grimsson said the new terms thrashed out over months of negotiation were better than the first deal, rejected by Icelanders last year.
However, he said it was fundamental "the people exercised legislative power in the Icesave dispute".
"I have, therefore, decided in accordance with Article 26 of the constitution, to refer the new bill to a referendum."
Icelandic Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said the government would not resign.
"There is no reason for that," he said. "If the agreement is defeated in the referendum, we will address that question."
A referendum will be held as soon as possible but will not take place for at least a month.
Resolving the Icesave dispute has long been seen as necessary for Iceland's plan to join the European Union and for getting the economy back on its feet.
The government wants a deal, but there is deep resentment on the island. Many Icelanders believe it is unfair that taxpayers must foot the bill for mistakes made by private banks.
The Dutch government said the time had passed for talks over Iceland's debts.
"We have passed the stage of negotiations, but it is not up to us how this situation in Iceland will advance. We are sure the Icelandic government will consider the new situation and we hope to hear from them soon," Dutch Finance Ministry spokesman Niels Redeker said.
A British Treasury spokesman said: "We have noted the decision of the Icelandic president. We look forward to clarification of the Icelandic position in the coming days."


Iceland's financial meltdown caused the crown currency to collapse and sent the economy into a tailspin. The country had to be bailed out by the International Monetary Fund and others.
Strict capital controls were slapped in place to prevent an outflow of funds, keeping Iceland cut off from international capital markets and stunting its recovery.
Things have slowly been returning to normal. Interest rates have dropped from around 18 percent to 4.25 percent currently and inflation is under control. The country has taken steps to recapitalise its banking system and the central bank has been mulling its first international debt issue since the crisis.
The economy should grow this year for the first time since 2008.
The Icesave bill was supposed to be another step towards normalization.

Should Icelanders reject the plan, however, progress on EU membership and ending capital controls -- key to restarting the flow of foreign investment -- will be more difficult.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said she was concerned that repayment terms could now be set by European authorities who would step in if the three parties cannot agree.
The government has said the ultimate cost for Iceland under the current Icesave bill was likely to be no more than 50 billion crowns ($425 million), with Landsbanki assets covering the rest. The EU could set tougher terms.
Grimsson's veto was the second time he has rejected an Icesave repayment bill.
In a March 2010 referendum, an overwhelming majority of the country's roughly 200,000 voters threw out an earlier payment plan, sending negotiations between the three countries back to square one and delaying economic recovery.
A total of 44 members of the 63-seat parliament backed the new repayment plan earlier this week.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Gray-Block) (Reporting by Omar Valdimarsson, writing by Simon Johnson, editing by Diana Abdallah)

No Thaw In Icelandic Relations

Lawyers for what was once Iceland's biggest bank are due to file a High Court lawsuit later against the British government.

Bank Was Put Into Administration

Kaupthing Bank is suing Britain over a decision to place the bank's British arm in administration.

The Treasury placed Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander in administration on October 8, at the height of Iceland's financial crisis.

Officials said the action was aimed at protecting British retail depositors as the country's financial system collapsed as the credit crunch kicked in.

Iceland took control of Kaupthing a day later.

It has argued that Britain's actions helped bring about Kaupthing's failure prematurely.

"The Resolution Committee of Kaupthing has decided to sue the British Government and has the full support of the government," a press release from the Icelandic prime minister's office said.

Iceland has long been angry at Britain's handling of the situation.

The use of anti-terror legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic bank Landsbanki infuriated Iceland.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde referred to the matter repeatedly in the weeks that followed, always holding out the possibility of a lawsuit.

A Treasury spokesman said the Treasury was not aware of any legal action.


Four Icelandic Bankers Arrested, Warrant Issued For Chairman; $2B Lawsuit Brought

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