Ice­land bank fall­out rum­bles on

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Jon Hen­ley

The cur­rent prime min­is­ter of Ice­land sold al­most all his re­main­ing as­sets in a ma­jor Ice­landic bank’s in­vest­ment fund on the day the gov­ern­ment seized con­trol of the coun­try’s col­laps­ing fi­nan­cial sec­tor at the peak of the 2008 crash.

Ac­cord­ing to leaked doc­u­ments, Bjarni Benedik­ts­son, then an MP on the par­lia­ment’s econ­omy and tax com­mit­tee, sold sev­eral mil­lion króna of as­sets in the Gl­it­nir bank’s fund be­fore an emer­gency law placed Ice­land’s failed fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions un­der state con­trol. The doc­u­ments sug­gest Benedik­ts­son, whose name ap­peared in the Panama Pa­pers off­shore scan­dal that top­pled Ice­land’s pre­vi­ous prime min­is­ter, talked to se­nior Gl­it­nir ex­ec­u­tives on 6 Oc­to­ber 2008, as the coun­try’s bank­ing bub­ble was on the point of burst­ing.

While he de­nies any wrong­do­ing and the Guardian has seen no ev­i­dence he broke any laws, the rev­e­la­tions could be em­bar­rass­ing: Benedik­ts­son faces elec­tions on 28 Oc­to­ber af­ter his coali­tion col­lapsed last month over an al­leged at­tempt to cover up a scan­dal in­volv­ing his fa­ther.

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