Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Two in hiding

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It’s not only Sigurdur Einarsson ex-chairman of Kaupthing who prefers to stay away from Iceland. Glitnir’s winding-up committee hasn’t been able to hand over to Jon Asgeir Johannesson a summon regarding the court case the WuC has filed in New York. At a press conference today its chairman, Steinunn Gudbjartsdottir, said that the WuC doesn’t known Johannesson’s whereabouts. After he receives the summon he has 48 hours to hand over a complete list of his assets. A court in London issued yesterday an international freezing order for Johannesson’s assets, up to ISK6bn. The freezing order only touches his assets, not the assets of his wife, Ingibjorg Palmadottir. Her wealth stems from a supermarket chain her father built up and that Johannesson later bought though her assets have been greatly diminished if not entirely wiped out by her husband’s business operations.

The freezing order means that Johannesson can’t dispose of his assets anywhere in the world and has a wide-reaching and extensive effect. If he doesn’t produce a list of his asset a prison sentence could follow. The actions taken regarding Johannesson follow an investigation by Kroll that also advices on how to proceed. On May 28 a court in London can hear the case if Johannesson wishes to. Through the Icelandic website, run by people close to Kaupthing and others who used to be among the newly rich, Johannesson made it known today that this case was only brought to slander him. In an interview with Bloomberg Johannesson says that there isn’t much he can do now, claiming that lawsuit is ‘just politics.’ He personally threatened that Gudbjartsdottir would be sued for the WuC action. At the press conference today, Gudbjartsdottir was asked what he reaction was to Johanesson’s remarks. ‘I didn’t expect him to be happy about our action,’ was her laconic answer.

Whether or how Johannesson will be sought via formal channels isn’t clear. Today, it transpired that Scotland Yard had refused to arrest Sigurdur Einarsson as Iceland isn’t a signee of two international conventions, European Arrest Warrant and the UN Convention against Corruption. It’s an intriguing question as to why Iceland hasn’t signed this agreement. However, Interpol is now looking for Einarsson who said to the Icelandic business paper Vidskiptabladid that he had no intention to go to Iceland to participate in the Special Prosecutor’s ‘theatre.’ This action against him hadn’t been necessary, he said, and he hoped that the civil liberties in the UK would protect him from these actions. – It will be interesting to follow what happens since it’s not clear the civil liberties in the UK are meant to protect those who should be brought to court in other countries.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

May 12th, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Iceland

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