One of the many and ongoing f*ckups by the Icelandic government in the wake of the economic implosion is the fact that, as yet, no investigation has been launched into the actual reasons behind the collapse of the banks – or whether any dubious transactions were made right around that time.
The seriousness of this is obvious: the more time passes, the more likely it is that evidence will be tampered with or made to disappear.
Meanwhile, the resolution committees that were appointed when the banks were taken over – the committees responsible for settling accounts, selling assets and so on – have been working behind closed doors and have provided no information to the public about the progression of the work which, note bene, is being conducted inside companies that now officially belong to us, this country’s taxpayers.
No doubt they’re busy wading through a muck of lies, deceit, immorality and criminal misconduct. A couple of days ago, for instance, it came to light that the banks had lent money to holding companies to buy shares in those same banks, with no required collateral except in the shares themselves – all in order to drive up share prices. Normal people who then bought the shares at those unreal prices were obviously caught in a web of deceit and many lost their entire life’s savings, including pensioners who now have no way to earn it back. It’s tragic beyond belief.
Then today it surfaced that the owners of the three commercial banks used funds in their banks’ money market accounts to purchase shares in their own companies just prior to the banks’ collapse, and sold shares in other, more solid, companies – all in an attempt to secure some liquid funds. Those money market funds include Glitnir’s infamous Fund 9, in which YT had some cash – especially infamous because Glitnir employees actually phoned the bank’s customers to encourage them to deposit money into the fund by telling them it was a bulletproof investment, the only risk was in the devaluation of the accrued interest. The reason it was to have been so safe is because the fund’s portfolio was supposedly in large part made up of government bonds – which, when the collapse came, turned out to be nonexistent.
In the end, I managed to get out with a seven percent devaluation – I sold my shares the day before the fund was frozen – whereas others received only around 85 percent of their money. However, the bulk of my savings was in a separate fund with Glitnir, which has been frozen since the beginning of October. Yesterday I called the bank to inquire if that fund was actually still frozen [because there has been no discussion, no notification, about the status and I found it unbelievable that they could hold it for so long without any news] and got put through to a girl in Customer Service that sounded about 17. She seemed exceedingly bored, like she was desperate to get back to checking her friends’ status on Facebook:
YT: Is Fund 1 still frozen?
BORED CHICK: Yeah.
YT: So, what’s happening with that?
BC: They’re working on it. They’re working really hard. They’re working to minimize the loss for the client.*
YT: So when do they expect to be finished?
BC: Oh, we don’t know. It’s hard to say.
YT: So it could be a week or a month or a year.
YT: And where is the bottleneck, exactly … is the problem within the bank, or with the government, or …
BC: They’re working on it within the bank.They’re working really hard.**
YT: So there’s no way of knowing when the funds will be released?
BC: No. We just get, like, a newsletter every Monday about what’s been happening and yesterday it just said they’re working on it. Really hard.
I had to restrain myself from screaming into the blower at her, but only because I feel sorry for bank employees right now, although with this chick’s disinterested attitude my sympathy was waning fast.
Or maybe it was just because a bored chick on the other end of a customer service line is so incredibly insignificant when put up against the criminals who have so massively screwed over the people of this nation that most of us can’t even get our heads around it right now.
Or because my prevailing feeling these days is one of utter helplessness and powerlessness when faced with the total, extreme incompetence of our leaders in so many hugely significant matters. Like the one that relates to apprehending the criminals that were making those sorts of decisions in the banks and bringing them to justice. Because that’s what we need to see more of around here. Some justice.
IT TURNED REALLY COLD AS THE DAY PROGRESSED
It was a dry, windy day, and as temps plummeted the windchill became particularly nasty. Right now -3°C [27F]. The sun came up at 10.32 this morning, and went down at 3.57 pm. Short days, these days.
* Canned response
** Icelandic: á fullu