A number of bankers and investors in Iceland signed their assets over to their wives shortly before the country’s banking system collapsed, apartments and standalone houses, lots, summer houses, stables and jeeps.
Reykjavík’s financial district. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
According to Fréttabladid, the CEO of Exista, old Kaupthing Bank’s majority owner, bought a piece of land in Bláskógabyggd municipality in the western countryside in mid-September but made it the separate estate of his wife when he realized that the banks were about to collapse.
The director of Kaupthing’s securities department signed both his standalone house and BMW jeep over to his wife the day before the bank was nationalized, while the bank’s service director made both his apartment and stable the separate estate of his wife.
Ása Ólafsdóttir, lecturer at the University of Iceland law department, said those who sign over real estate to their partners as a present won’t be able to protect it from possible claimants. Such practice is unlikely to save assets from an imminent bankruptcy.
“It is of no use unless they manage to avoid interference for 24 months. If no one claims bankruptcy proceedings of their properties in that time, they have gotten away with it,” Ólafsdóttir said “For two years after the contract is made it can be revoked and repayment can be demanded as long as it is a present.”
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