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Just when you think they’ve scurried under a rock, they turn up on a yacht in Cannes

One of my favourite columnists, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, who has been writing in Fréttablaðið these last few months, summed up in yesterday’s column what many of us have been wondering: how the ex-moguls must now be feeling, those who with their reckless impudence and complete lack of scruples – not to mention outright criminal misconduct – completely screwed us over, their fellow citizens? Leaving us to shovel their sh*t, pay their private debts, thereby tearing big gashes in the social fabric of this society while they flee the country to scurry under the nearest rock.

Guðmundur Andri writes:

Maybe those guys don’t give a damn that their nation, their entire lineage – fellow graduates, primary school friends, billiard pals, football buddies, old flames and non-flames, old teachers, ‘hi’ acquaintances, tradesmen who did work on your homes, car salesmen that you’ve bought cars from, kind women who once bought badges [sold for charity] from you, old farmers that you spent summers with, your old boy scout leader, the woman who served you at the kiosk – all those things that make up the social network in this community, all those people that you nod to walking down the street and they think: “oh, that guy”, all those people who share the same language and myriad unspoken cultural references that are among those things that make up a nation – maybe those guys don’t give a damn that all those people, that entire community that makes up this nation, are ashamed to know them. Maybe it doesn’t matter a damn to those guys that honourable people regard them with contempt.

Those were pretty much my sentiments when I saw this picture of former Landsbanki owner Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson and spouse Kristín Ólafsdóttir, taken four days ago aboard a yacht in Cannes during the film festival. Turns out they hadn’t scurried under a rock at all.

bjorgolfur-thor-and-kristin2

Words fail. Except that, well, those boots are beyond hideous with that dress. And old Björgólfur Thór looks like he’s got something spectacularly rammed up his butt. Maybe it’s the 4.4 billion pounds he and his pals collected through Icesave?*

IT’S 11 PM AND THE SUN IS STILL OUT
It’s been a great day – sunny and beautiful [if a little cool]. Sadly I didn’t have much chance to enjoy it on account of a massive workload which accounts for the rather scant activity in this space over the past few days. Still, I did get a walk in, since I took my car to the garage for a little tune-up and declined the offer for a lift back home a little too enthusiastically. It was a great excuse for some fresh air and a spot of sunshine. Right now it’s 8°C [46F]. Sunrise was at 3.39 am and sunset at 11.13 pm. Yowsa!

* Oops, sorry. Just my contempt showing.

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  • Jessie May 27, 2009, 1:04 am

    It must be nice to live so blissfully unaware and without a conscience.

  • TMCD May 27, 2009, 4:02 am

    You are soooo! right.
    Those green boots have all the makings of a horror show.

  • SirB May 27, 2009, 4:17 am

    Indeed my old classmate 🙁
    Never could stand him as a kid, hated him and little has changed.
    ‘nough said

  • Ólöf Auður May 27, 2009, 5:22 am

    Wow you’re so right Alda… those boots are really hideous with that dress! 😉 And I get so angry seeing that picture!!

  • Kathryn May 27, 2009, 7:37 am

    That’s a truly scary photo Alda !

  • Annie May 27, 2009, 8:48 am

    At least we can rest assured knowing she can no longer afford a stylist.

  • Physchim62 May 27, 2009, 9:43 am

    So THAT’S where he hid it…

  • alda May 27, 2009, 10:09 am

    Heheheh.

  • Ilka May 27, 2009, 10:40 am

    Oops, my first thought was she looks like she had found her outfit in an “used clothing collection”. Where did you find this spooky photo?

  • alda May 27, 2009, 10:57 am

    Ilka – you’re right of course I should have linked to the source (my bad). It’s fixed now. See above (taken four days ago …)

  • Lee, UK May 27, 2009, 12:05 pm

    Robin Hood boots, except that he stole from the rich and gave to the poor…

  • Ljósmynd DE May 27, 2009, 2:40 pm

    This tacky clothing is a further proof, that developing good taste is ever so often inversely proportional to the amount of money owned (or owed). For the nouveau riche it’s all about showing off.

    This kind of picture might fuel not only the contempt for the ex-moguls and the politicians, who set the scene for their raids, but also heat up the anger towards the state, which is not able or willing to impose legal consequences on those people.

  • Andrew May 27, 2009, 2:41 pm

    Crooks always have terrible dress sense! They clearly still have money – I wonder if the Icelandic government can get its hands on it?

  • Ilka May 27, 2009, 2:53 pm

    I’m still wondering, that a man, who not only ruined his bank but his whole nation get’s still invited to VIP parties of american billionaires

  • Jessica May 27, 2009, 6:15 pm

    No wonder I couldn’t find those boots at the Reykjavík Salvation Army store — she got to them first! It’s quite interesting that she went out of her way to match her clutch to her tunic but picked completely mismatched shoes. (But why are we ripping on the woman and her fashion sense when her husband/fiance is the real a**hole?)

    But don’t you at least feel better knowing that Björgólfur is getting laughed at by fashion critics?

  • alda May 27, 2009, 6:33 pm

    Jessica – quite right. I’m sure Kristín knew nothing about what Bjöggi was up to. 😉

    And fashion sense notwithstanding, I’d feel a lot better knowing what he’s doing with all those companies listed in the Virgin Islands.

  • TheMonkeyMan May 27, 2009, 8:01 pm

    That man should be arrested and imprisoned for what he has been part of. It is simply unforgivable that these crooks can land the nation with so much debt and still have hundreds of millions to play with in their own bank accounts. It just defies belief that he is living it up in Cannes whilst people are losing jobs and livelihoods.

  • Gwrhyr May 27, 2009, 10:07 pm

    Ilka, I don’t think American billionaires care at all about what he did to his nation or his bank. They probably pat him on the back for screwing his nation over, since most of them probably made their billions the same way. As if the arrogant ENRON-style “we’re making billions stealing from old grannies” was really unique to ENRON…
    No, I think those types of attitudes are completely entrenched in certain classes of ultra-rich businesspeople, and it’s amazing that he would show himself in public at all, but then not really all that surprising. The global ultra-rich class finds itself in a completely different world from ordinary people, not bound by place or (seemingly) the law. Once “in”, they do whatever they can to stay in, so obviously li’l ol’ Bjöggi here has lost all sense of his place in the world and self-respect. He’s probably thinking that all the ordinary people like Alda and us posters would do the same thing if we were in his position and that we’re all just bitter because we haven’t ‘made it’ in the world. That’s the only rational explanation for this type of behaviour.

  • idunn May 27, 2009, 11:10 pm

    Guðmundur Andri puts it succinctly and well. A good writer and pleasure to read. In looking, it appears his writing more or less exclusively in Icelandic?

    As for Björgólfur Thor and his companion with the boots, where the boots really that bad? But point taken. Just from the picture they seem a nice enough couple. My thought was they are probably better off in Cannes at the moment than Reykjavik. In the grand scheme of things, ultimately, perhaps they have lost more than their fellows in Iceland, who will at last recover. Or perhaps they will never care.

  • Path May 28, 2009, 12:49 pm

    This post is a bit to much of a easy statement and your anger is getting the best out of you. Of course men like Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson don’t give a damn about Icelandic nation but as a foreigner in Iceland, he was presented to me as a hero just 3-4 years ago. He was a symbol of the successes and the daring spirit of a nation.

    I would like so much you (and you probably did in previous posts) mention that Icelanders as a nation did use a part this money. Those guys are the tip of the iceberg, the reflection of what was going on a the time of their fake glory.

    I remember that before 2000, i used to say about Iceland : ” In Iceland and with Icelanders, what matters is to be brave, no matter how many times you fail, what matters to the Icelandic soul is to try and be courageous”. It was a fact, I felt it everywhere. So if you were brave you had respect, interest and offered lots of opportunities. And my love for the country and for Icelanders was born there.

    But the society changed, months after months, the value ‘success’ was getting more important. Some poeple started to be “more” that others because they were famous, because they were rich and so on. During those years, poeple were put into little cells : the famous, the rich, the poor, the failure… The evolution kept on, and the value ‘money’ started to be everything. The pressure was so high to have more, to buy more, to travel more, the expectations were impossible to catch up with.

    I have deep respect and love for Iceland and Icelanders and I will always have (they gave it back to me). As I feel it today, they are getting back on their feet and me with them, healing, building the future, reparing the mess, learning, beeing brave and trying. And it give me the feeling to witness a birth.

    Of course, one should not forget those crooks, but the anger and the acidity of the feeling will not do anything good and does not reflect the spirit that is slowly beeing born there.
    Why should they be mentionned over and over again, please mention the brave ones. Let the others fall into darkness together with their bad reputation.

    I want to write a little part of the saga that kept me strong when I was (relatively) poor in Iceland :

    Money often
    make an ape
    of many a good man
    some are wealthy
    others want
    Meagre mean are not shame

  • Kerry Scott May 28, 2009, 2:58 pm

    What the hell? We arrived at Keflavik at 6AM today to find gale force winds driving a very cold rain. Fortunately it didn’t last. We’re now safely ensconced in Kirkjubaejarklaustur and the sun is trying valiantly to shine. Even with the rain it was a glorious drive for we first time visitors.

    Kerry

  • Tony Lesen May 28, 2009, 3:43 pm

    nouveau riche – no taste, no shame, greed incarnate. hopefully one day they’ll stumble and fall (in those boots, shouldn’t be too hard).

  • Ilka May 28, 2009, 4:52 pm

    Gwrhyr, of course you’re right. From my point of view, a man, who runs a company as unsuccessfully as Björgólfur is the prototype of a looser. And because he was in the first pick of the superriches for quiet a short time, I would have expected, that they would drop him like a hot potato.
    Sure, if success means to grub es many money as possible, he’s allowed to play along.

  • iris June 1, 2009, 4:32 am

    Glamour Magazine is accepting nominations for Worst Dressed Couple of 2009… Here’s the link (oh, by the way, they encourage you to “why not vote AGAIN to ensure your ‘celebrity’ makes it to the list…?”
    Let’ s all make sure Mr. and Mrs. Bjorgolfsson get their well deserved seat on the list…
    http://www.onlinesurvey.it/checkbox/Survey-glamour-co.uk-bestdressed.aspx?s=5744154b231945e2ac08037016e51710

  • Deidre June 1, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Have you sent that pic into the Fug Girls? That is seriously fugly!