Some pretty big news yesterday.
A parliamentary committee, appointed to recommend whether or not any public officials should be indicted as a result of their involvement in the economic collapse in 2008, delivered its findings yesterday afternoon. There had been a fair bit of tension beforehand, particularly as it was known that the committee — which was made up of representatives from all of the political parties — was heavily divided on the issue. Basically it was split in three, with each faction wanting to indict some or all of the names mentioned, with the exception of the Independence Party’s representatives, who wanted to indict no one [surprise surprise].
The way Icelandic politics are these days, with no one seemingly having the balls to do anything radical, I fully expected the final verdict to be: No one. That is why it was a bit of a surprise that the committee settled on indicting four individuals: Former PM Geir H. Haarde [IP], Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir [leader of the IP's coalition partner at the time, the SDA], Árni M. Mathiesen [Minister of Finance for the IP] and Björgvin Sigurðsson [Minister of Business Affairs for the SDA].
The decision now goes to the parliament, which will vote on whether or not to indict any or all of those four people.
Predictably, the verdict is highly controversial. Personally I don’t have enough information to be able to form an enlightened opinion, at least not yet. Certainly I want people to be held accountable for their actions or non-actions [read: negligence], but OTOH I don’t know to what extent these four individuals actually were instrumental in causing the meltdown — the causes are so far-reaching and complex that it will certainly be difficult to determine who is responsible for what.
Meanwhile, it did not go unnoticed around here today that Morgunblather wrote about the verdict, named three of the individuals implicated, but made no mention of Geir H. Haarde. Clearly the rewriting of history is in full swing up there, under Davíð Oddsson’s* unfaltering leadership.
* Architect of the collapse, now editor of one of the country’s main newspapers. He and Geir Haarde were close collaborators in the IP and some say that DO actually ran the country behind the scenes, with GH as his puppet.
PS – Bloomberg has a pretty good report on this here.