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article imageIceland shows the way, the hunt for irresponsible bankers is on

By R. C. Camphausen     May 19, 2010 in Business
Reykjav - Since Iceland's three largest banks collapsed in late 2008, most of the former executives, owners and shareholders have been living outside the country, perhaps feeling safe. Lately, however, some have been arrested and others are wanted by Interpol.
Iceland has a Special Prosecutor for the banking crisis, and his office - with a staff of 30 people - has become very busy recently in an attempt to track down, sue, arrest and jail anyone responsible for or otherwise complicit in what led to the 2008 melt-down of the countries banking system, not to mention it's complete economy; more or less.
According to Ice News, prosecutor Ólafur Thór Hauksson is assisted by Eva Joly, the well-known and experienced investigating judge who specializes in white-collar crime, fraud and corruption cases.
Norwegian-born Eva Jolie is a French citizen and magistrate, and in June 2009 she was elected as a French member of the European Parliament. Together, Hauksson and Jolie have meanwhile started the process of sending warrants via Interpol and have succeeded in arresting the first individuals for questioning. Although they estimate that the proceedings may take four years or longer, depending on the final seize of the team allotted to them by the Icelandic government, for the moment they are satisfied with what's being achieved, though there's no reason yet to be overjoyed. Instead of the 30 member staff, they'd prefer 80 to turn this into an efficient team, and they hope that their first successes will convince the government to lend more of a hand.
Naturally, the accused are not taking it lying down, and are fighting back with attorneys and a media campaign aimed at discrediting the prosecutor. Thus, one can read in the Reykjavik Grapevine, how attorney Ian Burton (on behalf of former Kaupthing chairman Sigurður Einarsson) accuses the prosecutor of behaving irrational, saying: "It seems to me that this prosecutor wants to show the public that he's a tough guy and he can lock people up. This prosecutor isn't interested in discussion. He wants to behave like John Wayne in a cowboy movie."
The three banks that failed in 2008/2009 are known as Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir, and apart from the work done by the special prosecutor, administrators of some of these banks are trying to locate individuals and assets involved in the bank's collapse. For example, members of the so-called winding-up board of Glitnir's liquidation have announced last week to have filed a two-billion-dollar lawsuit in a New York court against former, major shareholders and executives for alleged fraud, saying that certain individuals had "conspired to systematically loot Glitnir Bank in order to prop up their own failing companies."
All in all, the heat is on ... as can be seen from the fact that four former Kaupthing executives, who had defected to Luxembourg, have meanwhile been arrested in the past week, while Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for that bank's former chairman, Sigurður Einarsson, who seems to be in the UK for now.
While The Raw Story has these and more details, there's not much about all of this in the mainstream media.
More about Greek banks, Bankers, Iceland, Prosecutor, Hauksson
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