Icelandic Prime Minister: I did Nothing Skip to content

Icelandic Prime Minister: I did Nothing

In an interview with Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir flatly denied that she had taken part in deciding the salary of the Central Bank governor Már Gudmundsson.

“I told him in no uncertain terms before he sent the e-mail that it was not my job to decide compensations.”

After that Gudmundsson sent an e-mail to her with a copy to the Permanent secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank, Lára Júlíusdóttir. Prime Minister Gudmundsdóttir told that she did not reply to the e-mail and was not involved in the decisions made after that.

Three days later, on June 24 2009, Júlíusdóttir sent a proposal for a salary structure to the permanent secretary and two days after that Gudmundsson was hired.

The Central Bank of Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

In May 2010 Júlíusdóttir submitted a proposal to the board of directors at the Central Bank of Iceland on raising the monthly salary of Central Bank governor Már Gudmundsson from ISK 1.3 to 1.7 million (USD 10,000 to 13,000, EUR 7,600 to 10,000). The pay raise had allegedly been promised by the Prime Minister’s Office according to Júlíusdóttir. She has never said explicitly who in the Prime Minister’s Office made that promise.

David Oddsson, editor of Morgunbladid and former Prime Minister and Central Bank Governor, asked in his column Staksteinar: “Lára Júlíusdóttir the Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank has said that she was just fulfilling a promise given in the Office of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister says she did not make the promise. … Júlíusdóttir just said that the promise was made in the Office of the Prime minister. It could have been made by somebody who was there by coincidence. For example a taxi-driver delivering a letter. Or the man who cleans the windows. Should the Prime Minister be made responsible that?”

When Júlíusdóttir was asked in May, how it should be understood that the Prime Minister denied having made any promises on the governor’s salary she replied according to Morgunbladid: “I choose to understand it in such a way that there is no longer a will to fulfill those promises in view of the situation.”

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