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Björk hops on Magma protest wagon

Today Icelandic songstress Björk Guðmundsdóttir, writer Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir and architect Jón Þórisson, assistant to Eva Joly, submitted a formal request to the Parliamentary Ombudsman to conduct an in-depth and thorough review of the sale of HS Orka to Magma Energy of Canada.

[If you’ve just joined us, you might want to click here for background, or here for something more in-depth.]

The submitted document [which Lára Hanna publishes in full on her website] states that in light of the controversy and lack of transparency surrounding the negotiations and sale of HS Orka to Magma, it is imperative for the Parliamentary Ombudsman to conduct a careful review to see whether public interests have been adequately protected, and whether the government  followed laws and proper administration procedures in this matter.

The request moreover states that this matter is of vast importance for the Icelandic public and that the decisions made now regarding the sale of Iceland’s natural resources not only concern the current generation, but also future generations.

From what I can see, the request [which is similar to a formal complaint, only a complaint can only be submitted by interested parties, which these three are not; hence this formal ábending, or request] is very well composed and presented in a direct and easy to understand manner.

The Magma-HS Orka sale is one of the main issues under discussion in Icelandic society right now. One of the things being pointed out is just what JimJones points out in the comments to this post, namely that, in approving the sale, the letter of the law was obeyed, but not the spirit of the law. Fréttablaðið discussed this in its editorial yesterday, and pointed out that one of the findings of the SIC report [Black Report] was that Icelandic public administration is steeped in precisely this tendency: to interpret the letter of the law far too literally, ignoring the spirit of the law. Food for thought, for all of us here.

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  • One Two Three July 14, 2010, 12:39 am

    Magma stock does not appear to be doing so well. The total value of stock and liabilities seems to be about C$310 million, note Magma has geothermal operations in Chile, USA, and Canada also.

    http://www.magmaenergycorp.com/s/StockInfo.asp

    The price decline seems to be linked to an attempt to raise money by selling shares at C$1.12 to raise C$40 million, or perhaps it was the Björk effect. The current price seems to be below the offering price of the summer of 09.

    http://www.magmaenergycorp.com/s/NewsReleases.asp?ReportID=408846&_Type=News-Releases&_Title=Magma-Energy-Corp.-Announces-Prospectus-Offering

    Stock price – note the precipitous drop on the Björk news:
    http://www.magmaenergycorp.com/s/StockInfo.asp

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland July 14, 2010, 1:20 am

    “Food for thought, for all of us here. “, well chew on this
    Tax on food to go to 25%, helpful suggestion from IMF god bless them comrade citizens. I have already worked out that the price of pesto genovese 190g is expensive in Iceland working out at 5 euros ( Its one of my staples love loads of it on pizzas at €1.29) the idea of VAT at 25% on food that is too much not even we do that here.

    http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news
    /?cat_id=16539&ew_0_a_id=365002

    However this could spark a new industry in Iceland instead of smuggling LSD,Cocaine, Marry your Wanna and heroin (Yawns so 20th century) you will have food runners instead, I can just see people rowing ashore with pesto,tea,coffee sugar whatever(Plus a box of Lemons for Alda),My god they are trying to starve you to pay for Icesave, time to get the pots and pans out again comrade citizens.

  • alda July 14, 2010, 1:24 am

    Ok, Kevin, you officially crack me up!

  • James Wilde July 14, 2010, 4:31 am

    Here are two predictions, Alda. This kind of activity – citizens challenging the government of their country in an effort to contain the robber mentality of certain industries – is definitely not going to get much publicity in foreign media. These are themselves for the most part controlled, directly or indirectly via advertising, by industry, and the last thing they will want is to see the spread of this kind of mutiny.

    And the other is that the Parliamentary Ombudsman will make a big song of doing his duty, and end up coming to the conclusion that there is no case to be answered, as everything was handled in accordance with the letter of the law.

    //James

  • John July 14, 2010, 4:49 am

    If the claims about corruption is true I find the deal should be tried in court.
    ( It might be difficult as on Iceland politicians get their financing from private companies and have been for many years. One might say it’s a ingrained part of the political system on Iceland)

    The idea that foreign private owners are worse than Icelandic owners seems strange all things considered all the time it was Icelandic companies that bankrupted Iceland.( I agree that it might not be a good idea to privatize common goods as the fishing quotas and energy sector)

    Kevin O’Connor it seems that Iceland and Ireland both have low taxes.
    Compare Iceland to Norway, Denmark or Sweden you find that the other Nordic countries don’t get that shocked by this article nor proposed tax(VAT) increased.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/Income_Taxes_By_Country.svg/2000px-Income_Taxes_By_Country.svg.png

    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_world

  • andy July 14, 2010, 8:55 am

    A rough list of the shareholders of Magma Energy Corp.: Ross Beaty/ Sitka Foundation 46.4%, Springleaf Enterprises/ Saudi Interests 7%, AltaGas Income Fund about 5%, Cascade Investment (a fund by Bill Gates) 2.5% and other institutional holders representing about 34.5%. Individual investors are holding around 4.6%. In various news drops it slowly comes to light who are the main shareholders of the company after the IPO a couple weeks back.

    The largest shareholder by far is the founder Ross Beaty over his Sitka Foundation, over which he helds 46.4% of the share of the company.

    Other shareholders are Springleaf Enterprises/ Saudi Interests with 7% share, AltaGas Income Fund (was already a shareholder pre-IPO) with a share of about 5%, Cascade Investment (a fund by Bill Gates) with a stake of 2.5% and other institutional holders representing about 34.5%. Which leaves around 4.6% of the company’s shares spread among individuals

    and their plans

    http://www.magmaenergycorp.com/i/pdf/MAGMA-Presentation-FEB.pdf

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland July 14, 2010, 2:38 pm

    @John cool global tax chart link there, Ireland a Tax Haven well I never !!
    @Alda all my postings comrade citizen are serious and sincere even when I don’t really mean it.

  • Bryan Bessette July 14, 2010, 3:21 pm

    I was surprised to hear a trender mention Iceland. He was talking about Iceland being the frontlines in the war against banker gangsterism vs. free people. It was cool because he was telling people to support Iceland any way they could. He then commenced to list Iceland websites where people could support Iceland businesses.

    Also, Comrade Kevin, you are hilarious. I had visions of midnight beach landings of covert operatives smuggling food stuff. haha

    Keep up the great work, Alda. I love your site.