Icelanders conned during bank privatization? Skip to content

Icelanders conned during bank privatization?

Vilhjálmur Bjarnason, adjunct professor of business at the University of Iceland, says Icelanders were conned when the so-called S-Group purchased a controlling stake in Búnaðarbanki, now part of Kaupthing Banki.

(For background on the banks and the privatization, please see Iceland Review, Daily News, May 31, “Privatization of banks draws heavy fire”; June 14, “Prime Minister’s feelings hurt but announces he has been exonerated”; June 15, “Icelandic banks are vulnerable”; and June 17 “Is Russian mafia financing Icelandic expansion abroad?”)

The German bank Hauck und Aufäuser that was part S-Group according to reports at the time recently sold its stake in Kaupthing to Icelandic members of the S-Group. Vilhjálmur Bjarnason questions whether the German bank ever really owned the shares, and suggests that Icelanders were deceived when they were led to believe that an international bank was involved in the purchase. He also said there were many other questionable issues concerning the sale of the controlling share of Búnaðarbanki, including favorable terms of payment and an “unnaturally” low price.

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