So, old Davíð Oddsson – key player in Iceland’s economic collapse, Prime Minister for 13 years, Central Bank director preceding the meltdown, currently editor-in-chief of Morgunblaðið – appears to be preparing the groundwork for his defense in anticipation of the Black Report.
As I’ve stated repeatedly, I no longer read Morgunblaðið [well, except when it’s the only thing available in some waiting room somewhere], so I have this via Sigurjón Egilsson.
In today’s Mbl editorial, Doddsson dwells on the upcoming Black Report, which in his opinion will allow those who were most responsible to get off scot-free. The big fish will escape, while the small fry [presumably like himself] will get slammed.
The courts couldn’t handle the Baugur Affair* a few years ago, and there is little doubt that that ruling led to unscrupulous money makers believing they could do anything. The law was for the little people. They were above the law. This is one of the reasons why things turned out as they did.
The investigators are showing their finest tricks these days. But among the people there is a nagging doubt. Will anything really come out of this? Sure, probably some who never walked tall through the halls of corruption will be made to feel the heat. But the big fish? Let us not expect too much.
This is Davíð Oddsson at his finest – deflecting blame onto everyone else to keep the focus off himself, sowing the seeds of suspicion, mistrust and confusion. Stirring up the silt to muddy the water.
It is true that the Baugur Affair was a colossal mess, and it is not unlikely that the Icelandic courts handed out acquittals because they couldn’t come to grip with the endless intricacies of the case. [God knows that the normal Icelander had ceased to understand even a fraction by the time it came to its drawn-out, dismal conclusion.] It is also possible that they were no match for the army of lawyers Baugur had at its disposal. Indeed, Eva Joly has said that, when courts don’t understand the full extent of the crimes – as very often happens with cases of extensive corruption, the sorts of cases in which Ms Joly is an expert – they tend to acquit. Precisely for that reason she has stressed the vital importance of investigating the Icelandic collapse carefully and thoroughly, using the most skilled specialists.
HOWEVER, for Doddsson to use this to further his own agenda, to create a smoke-screen of mistrust and disorientation, is typical — and very distasteful.
* The Baugur Affair was a long-drawn out court case involving the Icelandic state against Baugur Group [especially Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and his father Jóhannes Jónsson]. It was the most expensive case ever in Iceland, and resulted in only minor convictions after years of proceedings. It was widely thought to be a manifestation of Davíð Oddsson’s personal vendetta against Jón Ásgeir and Jóhannes. I wrote about the Baugur Affair here and here and here and here.