Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Thor Bjorgolfsson – apparently saved, but Icesave still nagging

make a comment

According to news in Iceland today, Thor Bjorgolfsson has now been saved from the threat of a personal bankruptcy. This seems to imply that he has reached an agreement with Deutche Bank on his debt in Actavis – and must have done the same with his Icelandic creditors. According to his spokesman, he had nothing to do with the running of Landsbanki, where he was the biggest shareholder together with his now bankrupt father, implying that he wasn’t like Jon Asgeir Johannesson who Glitnir is accusing of putting pressure on Glitnir’s managers to tunnel money his way. Accordingly, Icesave is none of his responsibility, says the spokeman.

There will be many Icelanders who ask if this really is the end of story regarding Bjorgolfsson’s involvement with the Icelandic banks. After all, it so happens that as Landsbanki collapsed Bjorgolfsson personally and companies related to him were the largest debtor in the bank. However he did secured the loans for himself and his companies Icesave was an important source of all loans issued from late 2006 when Icesave was set up, demonstrating the bank’s ‘pure genius’ (tær snilld) as the then CEO of Landsbanki Sigurjon Arnason proclaimed it at the time. As the banks collapsed, Bjorgolfsson was nr 5 on the list of the largest debtors in the three banks.

Bjorgolfsson was the main shareholder of the investment bank Straumur, now in moratorium but possibly soon in business again. Incidentally, Straumur was very keen to invest in companies related to Novator.

The report of the Investigative Commission offers many interesting insights into Bjorgolfsson’s way of doing business. As the banks were collapsing in October 2008 there were hectic meetings where Bjorgolfsson, not on the bank’s board, seemed to be the bank’s main representative. He assured the others that Landsbanki was alright, the problems had been solved, leading some politicians and bankers to go on record in the report saying that Bjorgolfsson was a liar.

However, if things do indeed go as his spokesman has now stated, things are indeed going to be just fine for the investor himself.

Follow me on Twitter for running updates.

Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

July 22nd, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Iceland

Leave a Reply