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Now, about those arrests

First of all, I want to say thank you for all the kind words of support in the comments to the last few posts, and to those of you who emailed me. They really mean a lot, and you are right: letting the bastards win is not an option.

Indeed, that seems to be the Special Motto of the Special Prosecutor’s Office these days.

After months of apparent inactivity, it is suddenly as though someone has poked the SP up the backside, and he’s kicked into gear. Although I have no doubt that his evident dormant state was anything but, and these latest developments are the result of months of hard work.

As most of you will know a number of arrests have been made already. It started with Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, former CEO of Kaupthing, then Magnús Guðmundsson, former CEO of Kaupthing Luxembourg and CEO of Banque Havilland, which was basically Kaupthing Luxembourg with a new sign out front. [Almost immediately after his arrest, Magnús was removed from his post.] Both of them were remanded in custody, and both appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which confirmed the decision of the district court.

Two more former Kaupthing execs were arrested last night [or was it two nights ago – there’s such a flurry of activity now that it’s hard to keep track] when they arrived at Keflavík airport. All of the above live abroad and came to Iceland for questioning by the Special Prosecutor.

There is a very long list of grievances against them, most of which involve market manipulation and other fraud. One of the most brazen in my opinion is this: just before the bank collapsed, the Icelandic Central Bank awarded it an emergency loan of EUR 500 million. This presumably in a last-ditch attempt to save the last remaining Icelandic bank from collapse [the other two had gone down days earlier]. At the time, Kaupthing was believed to be the only bank that MIGHT be able to withstand the crisis, as it had a substantial amount of own equity [of course we have no idea now whether those figures were cooked up or whether they were actually real]. The full amount of that loan, PLUS a few hundred million ISK more, was transferred to offshore companies associated with the top brass in the bank.

They stole the whole f*cking loan!!

The real suspense now is whether Icelandic authorities will be successful in apprehending old Sigurður Einarsson, who was CEO along with Hreiðar Már. Many of you will have seen that he was listed as wanted by Interpol yesterday after the Special Prosecutor issued an arrest warrant – this came in the wake of Sigurður’s refusal to come to Iceland for questioning voluntarily [gee, wonder why]. The latest, however, is that even if UK authorities do arrest him, he can’t be extradited because Icelandic authorities have not ratified some EEA agreement that calls for international collaboration in such cases.

D’oh!!!

Actually, there’s also been some speculation as to just WHY the Special Prosecutor called for an Interpol arrest warrant. Normally it’s only done when an individual cannot be located, but in this case old Sigurður is apparently just chillin’ at home in his Chelsea town house.

Not that it matters, since they can’t get at him.

I’ve also got a few things to say about old Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, who is also in deep doo-doo, but not now, must dash …………..

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comments

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  • Chris, May 12, 2010, 8:30 pm

    I talked to a few colleagues today in the lunch breack about this topic and they all were quite satisfied. No wonder.

  • The Fred from the forums May 12, 2010, 8:48 pm

    According to IceNews, Sigurdur Einarsson had refused to come back to Iceland for questioning even after being offered a deal including a promise he wouldn’t be arrested. The Special Prosecutor has just sent a message that turning down a deal from him is a Bad Idea.

  • JimJones May 12, 2010, 9:34 pm

    “They stole the whole f*cking loan!!”

    I say this grudgingly but I have to say it.
    I have to respect the level of guts/gall to steal a 500 million Euro loan. I mean, wow. It’s wrong and it’s unethical, but I have to respect the gall.

  • Joerg May 12, 2010, 9:44 pm

    Do they intentionally spare Landsbanki or did I miss arrests on this side of the cesspool?

  • sylvia hikins May 12, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Hey Alda, it’s great to have you blogging the hard stuff for us again. It feels a bit like people power and we are all behind you. I also got sound effects tonight- the sound of sloshing water…the noise of an ebb tide..or maybe certain people going down the plug hole!
    Here in the UK there’s a big love in going on. Cameron now in bed with the Liberal Democrats – wonder if he’s getting a Clegg-over?!!!! They do say that arranged marriages can last but I’m not betting on it.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Skúli Páls May 12, 2010, 10:10 pm

    Nú fer allt að gerast!

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland May 12, 2010, 10:49 pm

    Now there is someone who really is waiting for a submarine to pick him up off the english coast ha ha.

  • Easy May 12, 2010, 11:18 pm

    As Sigurður Einarsson said it himself “the goberment of Iceland is doing this for the headlines”, and I can totally agree, either that or we have a complet idiot as prosecutor, that would ask for an arrest and subsequentially and extradition, and “HUUPSS!! I DIDN’T KNOW” Iceland doesn’t have the necessary contracts with Europe for such acctions, Sigurður must be laughing his ass off and many others of these criminals “thanks for the heads-up”

  • Easy May 12, 2010, 11:22 pm

    @ The Fred from the forums
    “The Special Prosecutor has just sent a message that turning down a deal from him is a Bad Idea”.

    Acctually he has just done them a favor, “Guys, stay over there, as long as you are over there we can not do anything to you” (wink)

    XOXO
    The Special Prosecutor

  • Rik Hardy May 13, 2010, 12:00 am

    Never fear, Alda, you pissed off the right people, and it was about time somebody did. Nor are you the only one.
    Has a nice ring to it, that word, “No”, don’t you think?
    “Stop” is another one.
    Or how about, “You have been caught red-handed; take your punishment like a man.”?
    …All things these people should have heard when they were six years old.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland May 13, 2010, 12:31 am

    Oh yes yes Grand Theft Iceland 500 mill euro way to go dude!!!

  • Johanna May 13, 2010, 1:19 am

    Alda,

    I’m turning into such a nasty person. Everytime I see that “Wanted” poster from Interpol on Sigurður Einarsson, I immediately start thinking about those posters in the Westerns I saw as a kid. You know, Wanted – Dead or alive. What can I say, I didn´t think I had it in me.

    Why on earth would the British want to keep him?

    Johanna

  • Rik Hardy May 13, 2010, 2:09 am

    Why on earth would the British want to keep him, Johanna?
    Perhaps because he used our money to bribe them?

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland May 13, 2010, 2:13 am

    @Johanna because the britischers love asylum seekers the more ethnically diverse the better ha ha

  • Knute Rife May 13, 2010, 4:38 am

    They weren’t going to set foot back in Iceland with this hanging over them anyway. Might as well charge them and get the warrants and extradition requests out. Having the charges in place makes it easier to negotiate extradition.

  • ReallyEvilCanine May 13, 2010, 4:55 am

    You’re back on the hard-hitting stuff, huh? Vá! Takk fyrir.

    Half a billion € buys you a lot of time, private security guards and payoffs in Central America. I know that if I was Icelandic and I’d managed to finagle that kind of cash I’d head there even if they refuse to let rotten shark in the country.

  • James May 13, 2010, 6:25 am

    I wonder if Mossad reads Interpol’s wanted list. They have a long history of tracking down suspects internationally…

  • Joerg May 13, 2010, 7:24 am

    I would see a certain irony, should the UK turn out to be a save haven for people, who were responsible for the chaos that culminated in the invocation of anti-terrorism legislation and asset-freezing.

  • andy May 13, 2010, 8:48 am

    It is slowly unravelling. More to come. remember the Uk SFO is invistigating kaup, so if he wishes to stay here in the UK, they will not have to travel far…..arresting a foreigner to look good on insider dealing / economic white collar crime….pass metheevidence.

  • The Fred from the forums May 13, 2010, 9:04 am

    Iceland Review says there was never an offer not to arrest him: http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news/?cat_id=16567&ew_0_a_id=362246

  • Andrew May 13, 2010, 10:49 am

    Not an arrest but a civil law-suit – and he’s also somewhere in Britain!:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/7716599/Former-Baugur-boss-Jon-Asgeir-Johannesson-accused-of-2bn-fraud.html

    “Jon Asgeir Johannesson, the former billionaire boss of UK retail giant Baugur, allegedly led a conspiracy to siphon $2bn (£1.4bn) out of Iceland’s collapsed bank Glitnir, according to a lawsuit filed by its winding-up committee.”

  • sylvia hikins May 13, 2010, 11:14 am

    Listen guys, most of the British don’t even know he’s there. It’s the British elite we’ve got to deal with. And the fact that the law seems , as always,to protect the rich and their property. You have to really bugger the burser to fall fowl of it. In Liverpool years ago we used to slash tyres. Anyone know Sigurdur’s address in Chelski?
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Simon Brooke May 13, 2010, 12:48 pm

    @sylvia hikins, and the rich kids have just got back into government. Whatever Labour might have done (which wasn’t much, heaven knows) this lot will just treat Sigurður as one of their own. Which, of course, he is.

    You forget how small Iceland is. 5oo million Euros is 1400 Euros they’ve stolen from each and every man, woman and child in Iceland. In that one transaction alone.

  • Michael Lewis May 13, 2010, 1:11 pm

    “It’s the British elite we’ve got to deal with.”

    I have to disagree, you can say many things about the UK, but the judiciary are independent of the political state and have demonstrated that countless times. The reason , If I read correctly, that extradition is refused: Icelandic authorities didn’t ratify the negotiated extradition. Incompetence on their part perhaps – but hardly the workings of the ‘elite’. That is somewhat paranoid.

    “In Liverpool years ago we used to slash tyres”, Quite.

  • Easy May 13, 2010, 2:22 pm

    Do we really belive that “the prosecutor” didn’t know there were no contracts for extradition betwen Iceland and EU/UK? specially after ths situation last year with this Icelandic guy that was cought in Brazil and they couldn’t bring him home because… guess what? there was no contract of extradition with Brazil. Do you think, at that moment they didn’t find out what countries do we have this contracts with and what countries we don’t? They perfectly knew they were not going to be able to bring Sigurður to Iceland, they just wated the headlines on the newspapers, and create the psicological effect they have acctually created on people, “Yes, we are going to get the criminals, you see they are acctually doing it”, so this is either a show or we acctually have a useless good for nothing small town sherif as “the prosecutor” which by the way with these acctions he just showed his incompetence to do the job.

  • American Lawyer May 13, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Even if Iceland neglected to ratify the new extradition treaty, I presume the countries had a prior treaty, which would still be in effect.

    If there was no prior treaty, the Althingi had better ratify the new one ASAP.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland May 13, 2010, 2:56 pm

    @Michael Lewis “In Liverpool years ago we used to slash tyres”, Quite.
    Actually Old Boy I thought their chief scouse hobby was to set their leccy meters to go into reverse ha ha

  • JimJones May 13, 2010, 3:49 pm

    The British elite could be in league with Sigurdur. Or the special prosecutor could be setting him up as the person who is holding at least 500 million Euros that could go towards the whole Icesave affair(this is not to say that is 100% accurate, but it would be an easy sell to the UK public)

    I’d be willing to bet that if that happened Sigurdur couldn’t get out of the UK fast enough. I think the only place that would be as bad for him to hide out in would be Amsterdam.

    But I can’t say for certain. I just hope the special prosecutor has a plan.

  • The Fred from the forums May 15, 2010, 1:33 am

    For what it’s worth, IceNews says that the British can still deport him if they want.

  • Lisa Deeley Smith May 19, 2010, 2:05 am

    So glad you’re continuing to blog. Bon courage!