Curious Comments in Iceland Crisis Report Skip to content

Curious Comments in Iceland Crisis Report

Many interesting, strange, shocking and curious comments were made during the interviews conducted by the Special Investigative Committee and published in its report released on Monday.

The SIC presents its findings. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

They provide a glimpse into the state of mind of the collapse’s main players,, which compiled these comments, states.

Former Kaupthing CEO Hreidar Már Sigurdsson on the cocktail parties held by Ármann Thorvaldsson, former CEO of Kaupthing UK subsidiary Singer and Friedlander:

“In spite of banquets and mingling with the rich and famous people in London, Ármann had neither obtained favorable connections with the British administration nor a deep enough understanding of it.”

Assistant to former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde quotes former Central Bank governor and chairman Davíd Oddsson in the events leading up to the nationalization of Glitnir:

“There sits the prime minister, shivering like a leaf in the wind and cannot make a decision. He listens to you and you are undermining this issue. If it doesn’t work out I will personally make sure that your life will be unbearable in Iceland as long as you live.”

Former Minister of Industry, now Foreign Minister, Össur Skarphédinsson, describing his conversation with former PM Haarde when the cabinet decided that Oddsson would not lead an emergency government:

“He sat there and trembled almost. He said: ‘You can’t do this to me. I can’t go up there and say that to Davíd’.”

Former Kaupthing CEO Sigurdsson describes a telephone conversation with Oddsson where Oddsson was asked whether Kaupthing could lend EUR 600 million to Glitnir and Sigurdsson refused:

“Damn, do I have to do it then?”

Skarphédinsson on his predecessor Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir’s reaction to his idea of notifying Minister of Business Affairs Björgvin G. Sigurdsson about Glitnir being about to go bankrupt:

“‘But shouldn’t I call the business minister?’ And she said: ‘Not yet. So don’t talk with anyone. Keep it under wraps’.”

Former Kaupthing chairman Sigurdur Einarsson to the SIC:

“The salaries that I have received from this bank since 2003 are in all comparison with those who I compare my self with been extremely low. That’s just the way it is.”

Skarphédinsson on how he learned from his assistant that Glitnir was about to go bankrupt:

“I mean, there I was, stark naked in the World Class locker room, about to take a steam bath on a Sunday—and I was being especially mindful about my physique because for the first time in my life I was going to a tailor. And I looked at my mobile before I entered the steam bath and saw an unbelievable number of missed calls and text messages from Einar Karl who was in Glasgow and said everyone was looking for me.”

Click here to read more about the crisis report.

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