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Ex-Kaupthing bosses want their money

So the deadline to submit claims in the Kaupthing bank insolvency has just passed, and of course the goons executives who drove the bank into the ground are among those with hefty claims in the estate.

Sigurður Einarsson, one of the bank’s two CEOs [who incidentally was bestowed with the Order of the Falcon by the president a couple of years ago, excuse me while I vomit] is demanding ISK 244 million in unpaid wages.

Meanwhile, a company owned by Ólafur Ólafsson, one of the bank’s main shareholders, is demanding ISK 146 billion.

Fun and games, boys and girls. Fun and games.


As a reader alluded to in the comments to the last post, RÚV [state broadcaster] has announced that around 20 people will be laid off today, including quite a number of people from current affairs programme Kastljós, which has done some very good work over the past year or so. It’s a sad state of affairs, but all too common around here these days – unemployment is increasing at a rapid rate and certain sectors seem more vulnerable than others.

Which makes the above claims particularly distasteful.

It’s like what we’ve been saying all along – the kreppa doesn’t just happen overnight, but creeps in steadily and insidiously. And I fear that, if the Icesave bill is rejected in the referendum in March, things are going to get much, much worse than this.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rik Hardy January 22, 2010, 12:46 pm

    You are, of course right, Alda, when you say, “…if the Icesave bill is rejected in the referendum in March, things are going to get much, much worse than this…”, but many of us are very aware that things are also going to get much, much worse than this even if the Icesave bill is NOT rejected. The steady and insidious creeping you accurately speak of really doesn’t care what the outcome of the referendum might be.
    I’m only afraid that Icelanders will prove not to have what it takes to draw a clear line and tell those goons – er, executives – that they have crossed that line. A no vote in the referendum would at least let them know that they are no longer welcome in their special playschool for spoiled brats, i.e. Iceland. They have vandalized it and they are too old to get away with a plea of being underage.

  • kenny January 22, 2010, 1:10 pm

    Oh good lord.
    I would prefer if those goons PAID the icelandic government the same amount to make up for their destruction of the icelandic banking system.
    Makes me a very very sad person to see this news.

  • Michael Lewis January 22, 2010, 1:40 pm

    ” I fear that, if the Icesave bill is rejected in the referendum in March, things are going to get much, much worse than this. ”

    Debt servitude isn’t the answer. For the UK and US the lesson of Japan is clear: you can’t have ‘zombie’ banks. It is far better to let failed organisations fail and then start. Shareholders in the Icelandic banks should have no claim, their investment went to zero.

  • sylvia hikins January 22, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Rik- an IceSave Bill has already gone through your Parliament and has been signed off by your President. If the referedum on the second bill is a No, then I suspect a deal will be struck on the first one. You need foreign capital flowing back into Iceland again and business trust restored. How you decide to re-build your economy is up to the people of Iceland. There are many possibilities that are green, forward thinking and collective. But you need to be a part of the world as well as being apart from it.
    Alda- Order of the Falcon- what the heck is that? Wouldn’t Order of the Capon be more appropriate!!!
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Tom Harper January 22, 2010, 2:19 pm

    Cheeky sods! At this point, you can hardly blame them for trying (okay, not really). More so, you can hardly be surprised. These people have already shown how opportunistic they are. If their claims are paid out, however, my jaw will probably hit the floor, and then I will truly shed my last tear for Iceland.

    As for the Icesave referendum, I am wondering. If Iceland passes it, surely they can improve their credit worthiness over the next few years (as they have quite a window before payments even begin). Can they not secure financing (through e.g. selling sovereign bonds) on better terms, and then pay off Icesave early?

    I am not an economist, so forgive me if this is a totally ridiculous idea.

  • snowball January 22, 2010, 2:45 pm

    there is a nice lil quote from max liebermann which fits fantastically to the iceland of today…”one could not eat as much as one would like to vomit”

  • Joerg January 22, 2010, 3:06 pm

    The deadline to submit claims in the Kaupthing bank insolvency ended on December 30, 2009. By now, the Winding Up Committee has already sent out letters anouncing next week’s creditors’ meeting and notification about acknowledgement of claims.

    Btw. – To Germany, they sent each of those one-sheet-letters in large envelopes as single items by DHL Express – a shipment method, which is priced at about 85oo ISK per item for individuals on DHL’s Icelandic website. It’s certainly less for business customers but it is anything but economical. They could have used this money to satisfy (justified) claims but they don’t seem to care, as it is not their money anyway.

    Apart from this, it is outrageous to see those people, who among other things seem to have participated in staging this fake deal with Sheik Al-Thani of Qatar, now preying on the carcasses of the banks, they had driven into the ground.

  • kevin o'connor,waterford,ireland January 22, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Well more tasty revelations,NOTHING FOR IT LADS LET US ALL VOTE NEIN in the referendum and oh yes stop paying mortgages/rent and take the whole ship down to the bottom of the financial Atlantic,kind of like one of those Viking funerals where the flaming ship with the chieftain on board drifts out to the horizon. Everyone will suffer but as long as the top dogs don’t have a lifeboat thats cool.

  • hildigunnur January 22, 2010, 3:39 pm

    Nobody’s surprised, just sick of those guys!

  • Bromley86 January 22, 2010, 3:47 pm

    >Can they not secure financing (through e.g. selling sovereign bonds) on better terms

    In a word, no. I’d link to the Mike (UK Nordic Analyst) post over on IceNews that talks about Iceland securing financing elsewhere, but IceNews is having a facelift and a load of comments are MIA for the moment.

    I seem to remember that it was 7-11% though. Also, IIRC the US & UK are offering bonds at 3.5%-4%. Even if Iceland was in better shape a couple of years down the line, it would never approach this.

    And, if it somehow could secure 4%, it’d make more sense to repay the IMF loan (something like 6.25%).

  • Jónas Thor January 22, 2010, 3:52 pm

    Can anyone remember the Danish flag flying over the Alþingi? Just a thought.

  • jo6pac January 22, 2010, 3:57 pm

    20 people will be laid off today, including quite a number of people from current affairs programme Kastljós, which has done some very good work over the past year or so.

    Yes, this good because you can now feed the sheep anything you like, in what to think. Welcome to fox news and with the us supreme court now telling Amerikan citizens they don’t count and if you join with imf then you will be join us in slavery.

  • Great Eastern January 22, 2010, 4:12 pm

    not a big surprise really. bankers took record bonuses this year in anglo-saxo countries at least.
    by all accounts, iceland elite regards itself part of british-american world. it has a disgust for old, rule constricted, aristocratic, and well, intellectual and often too causcious continental philosophy. do not forget it was british and americans who deeply shaked icelandic society, brought money and fast-forward thinking. in many ways this is a phylosophy of new rich.
    icelandic elite is in fact new rich. a former fisherman taking on finance
    without a second guessing. only that finance is largely an intellectual playground on which amatuer does not stand a chance. casino allways win.
    david odsson’s generation is all about fans of free american pioneer counqering wild west. in that respect they will never acknowledge they did it wrong. asking for bonuses or shares is just natural for them. they honestly believe pioneers always win. the concept of pioneers with arrows in their chest is too difficult to grasp for those, who witnessed icelands rise from nothing to solid state during the cod wars.
    those guys remind of kremlin old hardliners. even faced with facts they hold onto their believes. well, what we learn is that people nve learn from mistakes of others.

  • Alexander E. January 22, 2010, 4:47 pm

    RÚV [state broadcaster] has announced that around 20 people will be laid off today, including quite a number of people from current affairs programme Kastljós, which has done some very good work over the past year or so.

    Good news after all.
    maybe this will push Icelandic reporters, journalists etc. to set up really independent new media source – over Internet 😉

    PS. Alda, maybe you should hire them now :))))))

  • nick January 22, 2010, 6:22 pm

    I wonder (and worry) about the motivation behind calling a referendum.

    As far as I can see, it’s being used as a way to off-load the decision on the icelandic people. Not because they have a right to choose, but because either choice will have consequences and it’ll save the powers-that-be from accepting responsibility.

    Like being the passenger in a front-on collision. You have none of the control but you still get all of the death.

  • Rik Hardy January 22, 2010, 7:34 pm

    Sylvia, believe me, I have a lot of sympathy for your view, but both of the bills carry conditions which are famously more punitive than those imposed upon Germany after WWI – and we all know what that led to. I’m certainly with all those who say we must pay what we owe, but we must honestly find out what we owe first. That has not yet been done, and just agreeing to any old thing for the sake of peace and quiet would be a shameful act – and an act which would still cost more than we can afford. As many have said, there is no nice solution to this, so it’s a question of abject surrender to the gangsters who caused this mess – allowing them to continue appointing each other to prominent political positions – or sending a clear message that nothing short of real change will give Iceland back its reason for national pride. A “No” in the referendum would initiate some real thinking about what this country needs, instead of using the reckless, unlimited bailout “solutions” which seem to be so popular abroad.
    It’s really a bit like the situation of Americans and their horror of taxes – pure brainwashing. I, too, would have a horror of taxes, if I didn’t see quite clearly that I get something in return. That’s what I call a society. Icelanders still remember what it means to help each other, and the criminals in their midst won’t prevent that, hardship or no hardship.

  • Rik Hardy January 22, 2010, 7:56 pm

    Nick, as far as I can see, this is not off-loading the decision on the Icelandic people at all.
    They WANT to make this decision. It’s supposed to be a democracy, and the majority don’t feel that the government is representing them.
    Don’t forget that since Dec. 2008 these have not been normal times.
    Dredging around for old laws which allow this or disallow that is simply not to be taken seriously any more. This is not the Iceland of our parents; it’s a whole new ball game and the bad guys have made up a whole new set of rules. The people of Iceland have the choice of disqualifying the bad guys, counteracting with a better set of rules or just sitting quietly and doing nothing.
    Sorry, I know it’s scary. I’m scared too.

  • nick January 22, 2010, 8:38 pm

    Heya Rik,

    Sorry if I didn’t make my concerns clear. I’m not suggesting that icelanders don’t have the desire to make the choice. I believe they do, and I believe they have to right to make it.

    My worry is that whatever decision they make, it will be used against them. The average citizen did not cause this calamity, but they are being asked to take responsibility for it.

    On one level, this is as it should be. The decision regarding IceSave (however you slice it) will affect every icelandic individual now and in the future. So of course they must have their say.

    But the cynic in me thinks that the politicians in power are happy for joe average to make the hard choice, because it deflects the consequences from them. Accept the current deal and saddle your children with debt… well, that’s what you wanted. Reject the current deal and be ostracised from the global community…. well, that’s what you wanted.

    Like I alluded to earlier, you’re being handed a loaded gun and told to play russian roulette. Pull the trigger, don’t pull the trigger. Your choice but did you really want to pick up the gun in the first place?

  • sylvia hikins January 22, 2010, 11:58 pm

    Rik- I don’t think that our views are very far apart. I have maintained in all my previous comments that I feel the conditions of re-payment are unfair, in particular the interest rate being levied from day one. So yes, you must honestly find out what you first owe before you can repay. But all of that has to be re-negotiated somewhere, or challenged legally.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Rik Hardy January 23, 2010, 12:57 pm

    Yep, Nick and Sylvia, I get your points and I think between us we have the situation pretty well analyzed. Perhaps in my case it just boils down to preferring to take up the loaded gun rather than let the politicians whom I don’t trust (does anybody?) do it for me.
    Bad news whatever we do.

  • phil-fox January 23, 2010, 4:46 pm

    Sigurdur Einarsson, invest , certainly with the approval of the British Governement 2 000 000 000 ISK for a nice house in London .
    If he have not a “blanc-seing” and would be a “terrorist ” , he never do.
    That’s a part of the Comedy to claim 244 M ISK . With the IMF loan you can pay 1000 ISK each one . Nice souvenir .
    The first step : Arrest him . The second step frooze all assets .
    Certainly , he would be cooperative with a family down the road .