ICE-SAR, the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, released a statement on Tuesday announcing manager Guðmundur Örn Jóhannsson’s decision to go on leave due to a report to be published in newspaper DV the following day where he was accused of money laundering.
Guðmundur, who has denied all accusations, is said to have made the decision to maintain ICE-SAR’s credibility in the hope that the coverage will neither impact the association’s operations nor fundraising, ruv.is reports.
According to surveys, ICE-SAR is the institution in which Icelanders have the most faith.
The annual sale of the ICE-SAR Neyðarkall keychain kicked off earlier this week and another important fundraising initiative for ICE-SAR, which is a volunteer organization, takes place next month: the sale of fireworks for New Year’s Eve.
The accusations against Guðmundur are based on a recording of a conversation posted on YouTube where he is said to discuss the transfer of tens of millions of ISK and how he and the man he’s talking with may profit from the transfer.
DV claims that the recording can be linked with ICE-SAR, including the purchase of fireworks from China. The newspaper goes on to accuse Guðmundur of money laundering and currency violations.
Guðmundur responded that he has never abused his position at ICE-SAR, neither in regard to money laundering nor anything else.
It is pointed out in ICE-SAR’s statement that the business referred to in the recording occurred two years before Guðmundur started working with the association.
Chairman of ICE-SAR Hörður Már Harðarsson told RÚV that to rule out that Guðmundur had abused his position at the association, its books were reviewed by certified accountants and nothing suspicious surfaced.
He iterated Guðmundur has nothing to do with the operations of ICE-SAR anymore. “I think our parting has been clear. He is thinking of his reputation. We of ours.”