Björgólfur Thór Björgólfsson Claims MP was not trusted Skip to content

Björgólfur Thór Björgólfsson Claims MP was not trusted

Björgólfur Thór Björgólfsson, Icelandic billionaire and once one of the 1.000 richest men in the world according to Forbes magazine, has set up a special website to refute some claims from the Parliamentary report on the Icelandic economic collapse. In a recent post on the website (in Icelandic) Björgólfsson disputes a claim by Herbertsson, an economist, who was CEO of Askar Capital until he took over as economic advisor to Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde in 2008. Herbertsson had said that in 2008 Björgólfsson “was completely cold” towards the idea of merging Landsbanki with other banks. Herbertsson is now an MP for the Independence party.

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Björgólfur Thór Björgólfsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson/Iceland Review

Landsbanki Íslands was Iceland’s oldest bank. In 2002 then Prime Minister David Oddsson decided to sell a 45% share in the bank to Björgólfur Gudmundsson, his son Björgólfur Thór Björgólfsson and Magnús Thorsteinsson, their business partner from St. Petersburg, Russia. The bank is now infamous for its Icesave-accounts, the ill fated deposit accounts in Britain and Holland.

Björgólfsson writes: “As an example one could take the incident when [Herbertsson] came to Björgólfur Thór to discuss whether is were possible to merge Landsbanki and Glitnir bank, and was, of course, representing the government. He began the meeting by suggesting that Landsbanki took Askar Capital over. He also mentioned very often that Landsbanki and Starumur Bank [also owned by Björgólfsson] which he been studied extensively, but rather the Swedish investment bank Carnegie should be brought into that equation. Milestone, the owner of Askar Capital, was also a large shareholder in Carnegie since the fall of 2007. Landsbanki had, on the other hand, sold its share in this bank [Carnegie] in spring 2005. This meant that Hebertsson was not trusted since he seemed to be working on behalf of Milestone and Askar Capital.”

Björgólfsson goes on: “After Glitnir bank had fallen [on Oct 6 2008] Herbertsson said to anyone who wanted to listen, that Landsbanki would be next. Two well known individuals heard him say this. At the same time Herbertsson said in meetings with executives of Landsbanki that he was “their man”. After this Björgólfsson asked Prime Minister Haarde to get someone else to represent the government in talks. Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, then Minister of Health, got that role and spoke at least once to Björgólfsson.”

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