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Like a bomb waiting to go off. Tick tick.

I must admit that I was a TAD surprised to see old Lýður Guðmundsson at the gym today.

For those that don’t know, Lýður Guðmundsson is one of the former owners of Kaupthing bank. Remember that Kaupthing loan book leak on WikiLeaks? The one that exposed the billions of ISK in unsecured loans to a select few individuals closely connected to the bank? Who apparently plundered the bank past repair just a few days before it collapsed? – That was him.

I saw Lýður and his brother Ágúst Guðmundsson at the gym on occasion last winter, but hadn’t seen them there in a while. They don’t spend much time in Iceland these days I gather, but apparently come here occasionally on business [*snort*]. They’re not exactly the most popular kids on the block and, like I said, a little surprised that old Lýður would just wander out among the common people, pretending just to be one of us. Hoping, perhaps, that everything is normal, just as it was. Oh, the folly.

I’m not sure if it was my imagination, but I perceived a lot of tension in that gym today. Like everyone was pretending that he wasn’t there but really would have liked to have walloped him one. I hate to say it, but there it is. Seriously, it would not have surprised me in the least if one of those hardcore bodybuilders with the densely-tattooed arms had just walked over and pounded him on the top of the head, driving him into the ground like a peg. Like for instance that guy who always walks around in the T-shirt that reads: TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET IF ONE OF THEM IS DEAD.

Perhaps old Lýður perceived the same thing because he seemed a little … rigid. He soon sort of slinked off into the corner to lift weights by himself and a few minutes later he was gone.

I think everyone was kinda relieved. There might have been an explosion, but it didn’t happen. Not today.

IT HAS BEEN RAINING BUCKETS TODAY
Even though I was at the gym today and did 4 km on the treadmill and then went for the toning equipment, I felt the compulsion to go out for a bicycle ride this evening in the driving rain. Call me obsessive if you will if you shall if you must. I’m not really. It’s more like temporary insanity. By the time I got home my shoes were full of water and I had to wring out the rest of my clothes – but I had my dose of fresh air! It is currently 11°C [52F] and the sun came up at 5.48, set at 9.09.

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  • Paul H August 26, 2009, 12:11 am

    Iceland has bigger and better things ahead.
    These times are tough, but I know, and have seen, how Icelanders are more than capable of weathering it all.
    And with dignity intact as a whole, unlike the few.

  • Paul H August 26, 2009, 12:19 am

    p.s. What was the debt figure, per capita (man, woman, child) for debt in Iceland (as regards national debt)? We just got told today on the evening news in the US that we have $186,000 per capita *with interest*. Equal to 23,863,800 ISK per capita at current exchange rate. How are we doing?

  • Ljósmynd DE August 26, 2009, 6:16 am

    Is he still “Kaupthinking”?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31U54cgf_OQ

    I have rarely seen a promotional film with more hubris.

    Reading the news, there appears to be an increasing tension towards those people, who wrecked Iceland, particularly the disgraced moguls. It’s still only about red painted luxury houses/Range Rovers/Hummers but the bomb is certainly ticking. I can’t really imagine, how a reconciliation should work, while their loot is still hidden in the Carribbean.

  • Dave Hambidge August 26, 2009, 6:29 am

    It says much about the basic tolerance and niceness of nicelanders that this chappy would even think of appearing in public without an armed escort.

  • Chris August 26, 2009, 9:36 am

    These people don’t seem to understand, what they did. And that they are popular like a furuncle in the face.

  • Alexander E. August 26, 2009, 12:18 pm

    of appearing in public without an armed escort.

    Dave.
    I think this is not a good idea to appear with an armed escort in Iceland. People here are not used to it.
    Once I saw a Norwegian (?) princess here. She visited Gardabaer and met with town officials and people. And it was a kind of confusion because – as a royal family – they were surrounded by security guys (aka men in black) who were trying to “secure” the princess and her husband. But local people (and kids in particular) didn’t get it and was trying to get as close as possible (just to chat with the princess). So the security guys got also confused – to push kids and their parents away? Let “strangers” touch the protected “object”? Or what? And Icelander didn’t understand what these men in black were about…
    But somehow this situation – kids, princess and security – worked out nicely and all were happy (and security guys relaxed).

    But I’m not so sure about the situation with angry bodybuilders, crook and his armed escort. At least armed escort would have felt very uncomfortable 🙂

    Chris 08.26.09 at 9:36 am
    These people don’t seem to understand, what they did.

    Chris, of course they don’t. That’s why they did what they did. They are kind of aliens in this respect (but look like humans). And that’s why they should be treated this way – as total aliens 😉

  • Mike August 26, 2009, 12:36 pm

    That reminds me that in New York the CEO of Lehman Brothers actually was punched in the face by an employee, and reportedly knocked out, in the company’s private gym the day they announced their bankruptcy.

    But then… that might just be how they say hello in New York.

  • Peter Reeves August 26, 2009, 12:47 pm

    There are people in Iceland who want to put the whole sorry episode in the rear mirror and have some support structure, and those who do not have the luxury of that comfort. Most of the people in the gym are the former. If he met the latter group, chances are he would be assaulted!

  • Steinn Sigurðsson August 26, 2009, 5:11 pm

    carpe diem!

    next time.

  • Bromley86 August 26, 2009, 6:08 pm

    You’ll be chuffed to see that he doesn’t like bloggers, Alda. Although as your name is apparent to all (except perhaps the MiB from the Central Bank), no doubt you’re acceptable.
    http://icelandtalks.net/?p=700

  • Paul H August 26, 2009, 7:40 pm

    Ok, so we in the US each owe $184,000 (I was off by $2,000 = +1%).
    I found the source of the statistic: http://www.pgpf.org/
    The Icesave debt is 4B EUR, right?
    Which is 5.68B USD.
    Divided by 300,000 is $18,933 per capita.
    Iceland was debt-free before this, wasn’t it?
    Looks to me like we in the US are on very shaky ground right now.
    (someone please correct my numbers if they are in error)

  • elín August 26, 2009, 7:44 pm

    watching this guy on Kastljós at the moment. At least I think I am.

  • elín August 26, 2009, 8:05 pm

    oh, jeez … now it is the guy from Magna. I feel nauseated.

  • Ljósmynd DE August 26, 2009, 8:05 pm

    Here you are.

    http://icelandtalks.net/?p=700

    Apparently the bloggers and the media are the real culprits for the mess, at least according to Lýður Guðmundsson, who doesn’t seem to see any reason to apologise to the Icelandic people. This is clear, of course – if you had not written about Iceland’s predicaments all the time, nobody would have noticed. Obviously, you just have to shoulder your share of debt, shut up and look the other way.

    In this case I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find him pretending everything is normal, just as it was. He just doesn’t get it.

  • The Other Katherine Harris August 26, 2009, 9:07 pm

    Love your vision of his being pounded like a peg! Rather a pity the bodybuilders didn’t do it. Seriously, if there were any justice, this dude and his confreres would be jailed and divested of all their ill-gotten gains.

    Isn’t happening over here, either. Alas.

  • alda August 26, 2009, 10:27 pm

    Thanks for the input, everyone.

    I missed the Kastljós interview with Lýður Guðmundsson but caught it an hour later. I’m all for letting people have their say, but I thought this interview was awful. He was on the offensive, filled with barely-suppressed rage, claiming he’s the victim of a witch hunt and deflecting all blame (quel surprise!). The interviewer was also really soft … I’m not sure she could have done a better job (I think she knew she was out of her depth) – I think RÚV should have had someone else interview him.

    Evidently he also lashed out at bloggers in a speech this morning at the Exista Annual General Meeting, but presumably not YT since, as Bromley points out, he was primarily fuming about the stuff that gets written anonymously on the Internet. And – well – on that point he and I agree. I think a lot of the stuff that is written online under the guise of anonymity is pretty vile, as I’ve written about on previous occasions in this space. I think if people have something really harsh to say, they should have the courage to use their own names. (Which is one reason why I moderate comments.)

    And just for the record, I am not in the above post encouraging violence against anybody, but just describing the general ambiance in Icelandic society (and my particular fitness centre), as I see it.

  • alda August 26, 2009, 10:34 pm

    Oh, incidentally – the new board of Exista (a company that is currently just a collection of debts and which old Lýður blames the banks’ resolution committees for destroying) was elected today. It consists of Lýður and his brother Ágúst, and one other board member. The one deputy on the board was chosen without election – one Robert Tchenguiz whose assets have just been frozen on Tortola by the Icelandic authorities (yes! it’s finally happening).

  • chosan August 27, 2009, 12:32 am

    Alda, to blog under an alias gives certain freedom that cannot be had under a name.
    It is a very Icelandic thing wanting to know who writes what. I suspect that those anonymous bloggers who are saying disturbing things are not all just stirring up smoke to get attention.
    Some of the material published would never see the light of day if it wasn’t for the chance to blog under an alias.
    I think it is naive of you to claim the alias bloggers as cowards just because they choose to hide their names.
    It seems to me that you are taking the side with Lýður Guðmundsson in this issue, compared to what he said in this blog here, http://icelandtalks.net/?p=700

  • Chris August 27, 2009, 1:26 pm

    Can anybody tell me something about Nestormedia, which is at least formally behind icelandtalks?

  • Jack Parsons August 29, 2009, 5:20 am

    Another odd aspect of the video is that is nothing but samples of US & British media. There is no evidence of original thinking or even the synthesis of existing ideas: just vomiting up context-free “stuff” from the outside.

    I worked at Enron, but it wasn’t my fault. I’ve obscured it on my resume, and use the above line in person. How many former Kaupthinkers have slightly fudged resumes?