Jón Bjarki Magnússon, a former journalist at Icelandic redtop DV, stated earlier this week that editor of DV Reynir Traustason had prevented the publication of an article Magnússon had written about former Landsbanki CEO Sigurjón Th. Árnason.
The article, which was supposed to be published on November 6, said that Árnason was planning to establish a consulting service in the facilities of Landsbanki, hoping that the bank would provide him with projects, Morgunbladid reports.
Magnússon said Traustason had refused to publish the story because of threats from influential people whose interests were at stake. Traustason stated that Magnússon’s claims were false and that there had not been any unusual reasons for not publishing the article; it had simply not added any new information to the debate.
However, on Monday evening, RÚV’s news magazine Kastjós played a recording of a conversation between Magnússon and Traustason, where Traustason said DV could not run the story on Árnason, “Because we are being threatened […]. There are just powers out there that will finish us.” In the conversation, Traustason mentions the name of former Landsbanki chairman Björgólfur Gudmundsson.
Traustason is now considering suing RÚV for broadcasting a private conversation. In terms of the information revealed in the conversation, Traustason admitted that he had made a mistake by letting his fear disturb his work as editor. He said he is also considering resigning from his post.
Both Gudmundsson and leaders of the new state-run Landsbanki (NBI) issued statements yesterday, denying that they had prevented the story on Árnason from being published.
Gudmundsson said that since his name was mentioned in the conversation between Magnússon and Traustason played in Kastljós, “one could draw the conclusion that I had […] prevented the newspaper from being published because of this news story. That is absurd. I had no knowledge of this story and no interests of mine were at stake since the cooperation between Sigurjón Árnason and myself ended when the state took over Landsbanki one month earlier.”
In the conversation, Traustason also said, “This is such a [corrupt] country that they threatened to close [us down], they threatened to stop printing DV.”
DV is printed by Landsprent, a printing house owned by Árvakur, the publishing house for Morgunbladid. Managing director of Landsprent Gudbrandur Magnússon said his company and neither threatened to stop printing DV nor received any such threats from the outside.