The Associated Whistle-Blowing Press (AWP), an Icelandic whistle-blowing platform, released the first batch of so-called “Glitnir Files—Records of the Icelandic Economic Collapse” this morning.
Photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.
The documents made available on the organization’s website ljost.is include information on the now defunct Glitnir bank’s biggest borrowers and stakeholders as well as shares movements leading up to the collapse.
According to AWP, the data provides “evidence that a handful of individuals and companies with strong connections to Glitnir’s central shareholders borrowed large amounts of cash from the bank, often with insufficient underlying collateral. It also provides detailed insight into the business dealings of many influential individuals that were at the forefront of the Icelandic business and political sectors prior to the nation’s financial collapse.”
The data also includes invoices and staff e-mail exchanges showing that Glitnir “a publicly listed company in the OMX Icelandic Stock Exchange, paid large sums towards the private expenses of its then CEO Bjarni Ármannsson.”
In a statement on AWP’s website, the organization says it is publishing the information in order to enhance the comprehension of authorities and the public regarding the 2008 economic collapse in Iceland.
Finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson has criticized the publication of the documents labeling responses by bloggers and others as a misinterpretation of the data. In a post on Facebook, Bjarni wrote that AWP has now removed information suggesting that he borrowed ISK billions from the bank as Bjarni maintains that this is incorrect.
Bjarni also said that allegations that he was the 13th largest shareholder in the bank at the end of 2007 are a lie. “This is the second lie from these people in two days,” he wrote.