Today, the Reykjavík District Court ruled in the most extensive banking case so far, a case of market manipulation and loans to Kevin Stanford and other businessmen to buy shares in Kaupthing, alleged to have part of the market manipulation by Kaupthing senior managers.
This is a complicated case, where the Office of Special Prosecutor went through, in court, months of trades to show a pattern they claimed was consistent with charges of market manipulation. – The judgement will no doubt be appealed by those who were sentenced.
Sigurður Einarsson ex-chairman of the board of Kaupthing was sentenced to a year. Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, the banks CEO at the time, was found guilty but not sentenced to prison because he has already been sentenced in another case, the al Thani case. According to Rúv, Einarsson sentence will be added to the four years he was sentenced to in the al Thani case. Ingólfur Helgason, Kaupthing manager of Icelandic operations was sentenced to 4 1/2 year. Magnús Guðmundsson manager of Kauphing’s Luxembourg operations was acquitted as was another employee, Björk Þórarinsdóttir member of Kaupthing’s credit committee. Bjarki Diego credit officer at the time was sentenced to 2 1/2 year. Three employees, who carried out the relevant trades, got suspended sentences of 18 months to two year.
One thing, which has proved valuable in this case as in other similar cases, is phone tabs. Interestingly, they have all been done after the collapse.
A complicated case – and contrary to what some seem to think Iceland has a similar legislation regarding market manipulation and other financial fraud as other Western countries. The difference is that there is a will to prosecute these cases: they are time-consuming to investigate but it is perfectly doable and the stories are simple. The fact that big banks are too big to investigate in other countries is only because there is a lack of appetite among authorities and politicians – there really is no other reason, no other explanation.
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