Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir, the wife of former majority owner of Kaupþing Bank Ólafur Ólafsson, who in February was handed a four-and-a-half year sentence for being party to the Al-Thani scam, maintains in an article she wrote in Fréttablaðið today that the Supreme Court of Iceland had confused her husband with a different Ólafur and that the verdict is based on a misunderstanding.
Ingibjörg reasons that the verdict is largely based on the recording of a telephone conversation where lawyer Bjarnfreður Ólafsson and the then managing director of the legal department of Kaupþing in Luxembourg Eggert J. Hilmarsson are discussing the Al-Thani deal.
An ‘Óli’ (short for Ólafur) is mentioned in the conversation. The Supreme Court used the recording as evidence against Ólafur Ólafsson but Ingibjörg claims that a reference was being made to a different Ólafur, a lawyer specializing in stock exchange.
Prosecutor Björn Þorvaldsson told RÚV that there is no doubt that Ólafur Ólafsson was the person Bjarnfreður and Eggert were speaking of in relation with the Al-Thani deal, adding that Ólafur would have been convicted even without the telephone conversation.
“There was a lot of evidence which indicated Ólafur’s participation, so even though the conversation hadn’t been available it wouldn’t have changed anything about the outcome,” Björn stated.
On February 12, the heaviest sentences ever given for economic fraud in Iceland were announced by the Supreme Court of Iceland.
Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, former CEO of the bank, got a sentence of five and a half years, Sigurður Einarsson, former chairman of the board, got four, while Ólafur and Magnús Guðmundsson, director of Kaupþing in Luxembourg, got 4.5 years each.
The case concerns the fabrication of Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of a 5-percent share in the bank two weeks before the banking collapse in 2008.