The prosecutor of economic crimes has filed a charge against Haukur Thór Haraldsson, former managing director of Landsbanki’s operations division, for defrauding more than ISK 118 million (USD 965,000, EUR 640,000).
The headquarters of Landsbanki in Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
This is the first criminal case in relation to the banking collapse of October 2008 which has led to a charge being filed, Fréttabladid reports.
On October 8 last year, two days after the emergency law was passed in Iceland’s parliament, Haraldsson transferred ISK 118 million to his personal account from a domestic foreign currency account on behalf of Landsbanki’s subsidiary, which was registered in the tax haven of Guernsey. The following day the money was transferred to a different account in Haraldsson’s ownership.
The money had been untouched in an account belonging to NBI Holding for a few years. Haraldsson was the company’s authorized signer and the only Icelander on its board. NBI Holding was in the ownership of a fund in Guernsey on behalf of Landsbanki and was used to trade stocks which the bank wanted to keep out of its balance sheet.
This case has been investigated for the past year and Haraldsson has always denied having been in breach of the law. He claims that he was attempting to save the bank’s money with the transfers because it wasn’t clear whether the Icelandic state would guarantee the bank’s deposits in offshore accounts.
However, police don’t find this explanation credible and thus the charge was filed. According to Fréttabladid’s sources, Haraldsson cannot point at anyone within the bank who knew about the transfers and it appears as if he didn’t tell anyone about them.
Haraldsson was made to step down when his actions were found out and the money was reclaimed from his personal account. The charge will be taken to court on December 16. Fréttabladid was unable to contact Haraldsson while working on this story.
Haraldsson is one of Landsbanki’s former employees making claims to its bankrupt estate because of unpaid salaries. This case can influence the handling of his ISK 148 million (USD 1.2 million, EUR 803,000) claim.
Click here to read more about the claims made to Landsbanki’s bankrupt estate.