Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson issued a formal complaint on Friday on comments made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the UK parliament on May 7 in relation to a question on the losses of the Christies hospital in Manchester.
Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
Skarphédinsson, describing Brown’s comments as “unhelpful,” called in the British Chargé d’Affaires to Iceland to deliver a protest and the Ambassador of Iceland to the United Kingdom has also delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street, as reported on the website of Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In his comments, Brown stated that the UK authorities were not the regulatory authority in the case of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, where the Christie hospital’s funds were deposited.
Furthermore, the PM claimed that the UK authorities were in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the rate at which Iceland should repay losses to British deposit holders.
Skarphédinsson stressed that Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander is a British Bank under the regulatory authority of the UK Financial Supervisory Authority, adding:
“Of course we regret that the Christie hospital has suffered financially due to the FSA’s seizure of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, but there is no basis for linking this matter to the Icelandic depositors’ compensation scheme.”
Skarphédinsson also stated that if indeed UK authorities are in negotiations with the IMF on how rapidly Iceland can repay British depositors, that is worrisome as it would be in violation of Iceland’s agreement with the IMF.
The IMF has denied having discussed such matters with UK authorities, stating that the Icesave dispute is between Iceland and the UK.
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