Representatives of Iceland’s largest bank, Kaupthing, are preparing a lawsuit against British authorities because of the harsh measures the UK took last week—seizing Kaupthing’s assets in the UK—which, Kaupthing claims, drove the bank into bankruptcy.
Kaupthing Bank will demand ISK 100 billion (USD 1.0 billion, EUR 0.7 billion, GBP 0.5 billion) in compensation, RÚV reports.
A group of lawyers from an international law firm are currently in Iceland working with Kaupthing Bank’s representatives to prepare the bank’s case against the British authorities. One of these lawyers is John Jarvis, a highly-respected lawyer in the UK.
“I think it’s safe to say we have formed some initial views. We are surprised that the order that was made, was made pursuant to an act which is commonly known now as the Northern Rock Act 2008,” Jarvis said in an interview with RÚV.
“It seems to be, to us at the moment, outside the purpose of that act that the order was made and there is a possible remedy there for a gain to the English court to have that order declared unlawful,” Jarvis continued.
“We are also looking to see whether there are the civil remedies for damages for such torts under English law as misfeasance in public office and negligence,” Jarvis concluded.
The team of lawyers is hopeful that Kaupthing Bank can win the case. “One can see from the use of the anti-terrorist legislation by the British government against Landsbanki that there was a degree of desperation in their actions last week,” said lawyer Richard Beresford.
“And certainly the language of the British government in relation to Icelandic banks was unfortunate and perhaps betrayed something underneath which was more than one would have thought should be proper behavior by the British government towards one of the major financial institutes in the UK,” Beresford added.
Click here to watch the news item on RÚV and listen to the interviews with Jarvis and Beresford (only available for two weeks from this date) and here to read about a potential lawsuit by Icelandic authorities against the British government.