Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

House searches in Iceland by the Office of the Special Prosecutor

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Yesterday, a team of 70 people, at the request of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, searched 16 properties in Iceland related to shareholders, clients and directors of Glitnir Bank. The action continues today where some people have been brought in for questioning.

The names figuring in Icelandic media are Jon Asgeir Johannesson, Palmi Haraldsson, Larus Welding. Welding who lives in London is said to be on his way to Iceland and already seems to have an appointment with the OSP. Johannesson has said in an interview with the paper owned by his wife that he has not been called in for an interrogation by the OSP.

According to Olafur Hauksson at the OSP the searches are connected to five cases, all familiar to those who follow the new Icelandic sagas of the collapsed banks:

1 Loans to a company called Stim, almost the name for the alleged market manipulation inherent in so many deals in the Icelandic banks. Stim was related to FL Group where Jon Asgeir Johannesson, Hannes Smarason and Palmi Haraldsson were among well-known names connected to Stim. Stim got a loan from Glitnir of ISK20bn to buy shares in FL and Glitnir itself. A major owner in Stim when it surfaced in November 2007 was a fishing company, Samherji, one of the largest Icelandic fishing companies.

2 Loans to FS-38, to buy shares in Aurum Holding Ltd (the UK Goldsmith jewellery chain), already a famous case in Iceland where a loan of ISK6bn was in the end offloaded for 1 krona.

3 Loans to Stodir (Landic Properties, a Baugur real estate company), Baugur and 101 Capital (owned by Ingibjorg Palmadottir, Johannesson’s wife).

4 A deal where GLB FX, a fund with Glitnir, bought a Stim bond from Saga Capital (now Saga Investment Bank). Saga Capital, based in Akureyri, was one of the owners of Stim.

5 Glitnir’s buying of shares in Tryggingamidstodin, TM, an Icelandic insurance company. This deal figures in the Glitnir charges against Johannesson, Haraldsson in New York.

All of these cases are well known in Iceland and these companies all figure in the report of the Althingi Investigative Commission. There is absolutely nothing unexpected here and now it seems that premises of Johannesson, Haraldsson, Larus Welding ex-CEO of Glitnir and others have been searched. According to Visir, the media owned by Johannesson, Thorvaldur Ludvik Sigurjonsson the CEO of Saga Investment Bank has been imprisoned earlier this morning, to be interrogated by the OSP. Sigurjonsson was on TV yesterday, claiming that neither he nor Saga was a part in the Stim case but that they had only dealt with a Stim bond. However, it was more than that since Saga, in November 2007, owned 25% of Stim.

When and if these people will be interrogated by the OSP remains unclear but it’s an ongoing investigation. Icelanders have long expected that the OSP would move in on the group around Glitnir. People connected to Kaupthing were interrogated and taken into custody in spring, now Glitnir. Now it’s only Landsbanki people who haven’t, at least not yet, been in the same situation as those of Glitnir and Kaupthing.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

November 17th, 2010 at 10:21 am

Posted in Iceland

2 Responses to 'House searches in Iceland by the Office of the Special Prosecutor'

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  1. I am glad there was so little time to destroy evidence.


    17 Nov 10 at 5:49 pm

  2. […] the OSP hasn’t really clarified the details but only the main issues that are being […]

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