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Finally, FINALLY, a freezing order has been imposed on the assets of two of Iceland’s [former] moguls – Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and Hannes Smárason.

There has been much talk lately about the evident mismanagement of funds in FL Group, of which Hannes Smárason was CEO and which was a subsidiary of Baugur Group. The issue first came up in 2007 when there was a crisis in the company — it later transpired that there were billions of ISK in miscellaneous costs that could not be adequately accounted for. Taxation authorities are now looking into whether these should have been listed as personal benefits and if they were, old Hannes and Jón Ásgeir will have to cough up a few bob in taxes. Until such a time, assets valued at hundreds of millions of ISK have been frozen.

And yes, we are asking why this wasn’t done earlier and why not in connection with a criminal investigation, but as we say in Iceland, Það er sama hvaðan gott kemur — It doesn’t matter where good things come from. [Well, almost.]

Meanwhile, the gross mismanagement of funds in this country in the years leading up to the collapse is just so unbelievable that the mind completely boggles. It really raises the question of whether covert bribery wasn’t actually the order of the day in those years, for it seems this Banana Rep society was awash in that kind of activity. There are many such patterns that are becoming clear after the publication of the Black Report.  More on that later, perhaps.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • tom joseph aka tj3 April 21, 2010, 12:34 pm

    That is interesting about the funds being frozen for Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and Hannes Smárason. I do not know who they are, here in the USA but needless to say we have our own. (And their funds here are not being frozen.)

    Our equivalent news is that Goldman Sacs on Wall Street is under investigation for fraud and also in England. I do not expect much to come from it though.

    Now our situation relates to and is partly the cause of Iceland’s woes. While it is just human nature to take and take and take and defraud and mismanage, the USA has been a leader in the modern global style of it.

    We made it seem normal with our trading system and banking system becoming de-regulated and more importantly to Iceland it was celebrated and made an example to the world.

    I am afraid it is continuing here and the Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and Hannes Smárason type guys here and every where are still able to play us all for suckers.

    We do not have a Black Report and we are not going to have one. It is pretty amazing and the world economy is still at risk from this all. The economic collapse that hit Iceland is still available globally for the entire economic world system because so much of it is based on fraud not economics.

  • Tom Harper April 21, 2010, 12:51 pm


  • Rik Hardy April 21, 2010, 1:11 pm

    “Það er sama hvaðan gott kemur”?
    Some confusion here.
    That was Jón’s and Hannes’s motto…

  • Michael Lewis April 21, 2010, 1:18 pm

    I had a quick look on Wikipedia, reading about Stodir …

    ” Jón Ásgeir stepped down as Chairman later that month after a conviction for breaking accounting laws.[8] His wife[9] Ingibjorg Stefania Palmadottir was elected as his replacement.[10] ”

    That’s amazing.

  • alda April 21, 2010, 2:31 pm

    Guðlaug – takk! Very funny. This one goes up on the Facebook page. 🙂

  • James Wilde April 21, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Just a jiffy. In the report at least in Visir or was it DV, it says ‘á næstunni’ (= soon). Is this a way to give JÁJ and HS time to get their assets out of sight before the midnight knock on the door?

  • James Wilde April 21, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Further to my comment above, I chatted with my son and asked: how can anyone be that stupid? His reply:

    this is iceland
    we bankrupted the nation on stupidity

  • alda April 21, 2010, 2:56 pm

    James – yes, you’re absolutely right. It does say “á næstunni”. Guess I got a little over-excited there.

    And yes, I think this is probably to give them plenty of warning to get their asse[t]s out of here.

  • Rik Hardy April 21, 2010, 4:04 pm

    I wonder what the rest of us would do if somebody decided to check up on something we would rather keep private, and gave us a year and a half to think about it…
    I doubt it.

  • GG April 23, 2010, 11:39 pm

    Nothing has been frozen yet. The tax authorities only said that they wanted to freeze their assets.