Days After Iceland’s PM Resigns Over “Panama Papers”, Its Bankers Are Released From Jail Years Early
How very ironic.
Over the weekend, just hours before the Panama Papers were released, we wrote a post that took “A Look Inside Iceland’s Kviabryggja Prison: The One Place Where Criminal Bankers Face Consequences.”
And then, minutes later, the Panama Papers were disclosed by the ICIJ, which had a clear target: to “expose” the “circle of friends close to Putin”, and of course, to reveal the dirty laundry of the Iceland Prime Minister, who resigned just two days after his shady offshore tax dealing were revealed to the world.
There was some “conspiratorial” speculation whether the explicit hit on ex-PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was precisely due to Iceland’s crackdown on the country’s criminal bankers. As a reminder, Iceland is the only nation that sent bankers found guilty of crimes resulting from the financial crisis, to prison.
It turns out there may have been something valid in said speculation, because moments ago, Iceland Monitor reported that three bankers from the defunct Iceland bank Kaupthing are to be released from jail today – after serving just one year of their 5-year sentences.
Magnús Guðmundsson, Ólafur Ólafsson and Sigurður Einarsson were one of four men jailed in 2015 in the so-called ‘Al-Thani case’ on charges of breach of trust and market abuse.
Sigurður Einarsson, former chairman at Kaupþing, received a sentence of four years, while Magnús Guðmundsson, former CEO of Kaupthing Luxembourg, and Ólafur Ólafsson, who was the bank’s second largest shareholder at the time, both received a sentence of four and a half years.
They will be taken to a halfway house today, where they will be fitted with ankle tags and released under electronic supervision.
Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson , Sigurður Einarsson and Magnús Guðmundsson.
* * *
Case closed, but the question lingers: is the Panama Papers merely a warning to anyone in government who dares to put bankers in prison to make sure that their own financial documents are in pristine condition, or else?