The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, reports that a licensed auditor has reviewed the documents cited by Vilhjalmur Bjarnason, adjunct lecturer at the business department of the University of Iceland, when he claimed that the purchasers of Búnadarbanki had made false statements in connection with buying a 45% controlling stake in the bank from the Icelandic government in early 2003.
The auditor, who chose to remain anonymous, reviewed the documents together with RÚV news desk staff and confirmed that the statements of the German bank Hauck und Aufahauser for 2003 did not give any indication of the bank’s ownership of the Icelandic company Egla. According to the auditor, the banks statements, however, should have done so.
During the course of the privatization, one of the main reasons for selling the 45% stake in Búnadarbanki to the so-called S-Group, of which Egla was a member, was said to be the participation of the German bank Hauck und Aufhauser in Egla.
Vilhjálmur Bjarnason said the facts of the case were evident to everyone, except the government. He will meet with the Icelandic National Audit Office tomorrow, Wednesday, and present the relevant documents.
Several opposition members of parliament spoke in Althingi yesterday. Sigurjón Thórdarson, Liberal Party, asked the prime minister Halldór Ásgrímsson, Progressive Party, if he would investigate whether or not the statements made by the S-Group had been false. Halldór asked in turn if Sigurjón had made an inquiry to the National Audit Office, which reports to Althingi; Halldór also said that the chief of the National Audit Office had told him that there was “nothing new” in the allegations. Sigurjón replied that Halldór’s close relationship with the Icelandic National Audit Office “was no suprise”, and that the chief of the National Audit Office had lost his credibility when he “whitewashed” the privatization of Búnadarbanki in an earlier investigation.
Lúdvík Bergvinsson, MP for the Social Democrats, asked the minister of trade and industry, Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir, Progressive Party, if the Financial Supervisory Authority would investigate the fact that Hauck und Aufhauser had not notified the Icelandic Stock Exchange or the Icelandic and German financial supervisory authorities of its ownership in Búnadarbanki, as it should have. Valgerdur replied there was “nothing new in the case,except the stupidity of the Social Democrats.”