Chairman of the board of Baugur Group and the largest shareholder in Glitnir Bank through Stodir Invest, Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, is dissatisfied with the nationalization of the bank and has criticized the Central Bank for its actions.
“This course of events is very surprising to me,” Jóhannesson told Fréttabladid, explaining that representatives of Glitnir had sought assistance from the Central Bank when foreign banks had unexpectedly cut off loans to Glitnir.
Jóhannesson claimed Glitnir had only requested temporary financial aid, similar to those which central banks of other nations had granted commercial banks without nationalizing them.
“Therefore it is incomprehensible and terrifying that the Central Bank has reacted in this way,” Jóhannesson said, adding that Glitnir had never requested emergency help or new capital stock.
“We were placed up against the wall. We told the representatives of the government that we thought this way was ridiculous because it could have an extensive effect on the entire financial system in this country,” Jóhannesson said.
Chairman of the board of Central Bank directors Davíd Oddsson said at a press conference yesterday that several methods had been discussed following Glitnir’s request and that “various market solutions,” had been considered.
Jóhannesson also criticized the speed with which these events occurred. “It is obviously part of something bigger and a plot which will reveal itself to us in the next few days.”
Jóhannesson went on to claim that shareholders had been cheated out of their money. “I simply cannot believe that the state treasury is used to relocating funds from one party to another in such a way. It is absolutely clear that Glitnir shareholders will use the time well until the shareholders’ meeting to seek other ways. This is absolutely the worst one.”
“It is the largest bank robbery in the history of Iceland and obviously part of a more extensive struggle which has not passed anyone by. Now people have gotten their revenge and must be satisfied,” Jóhannesson concluded, referring to the State vs. Baugur case.