IMF Denies Having Discussed Icesave with the UK Skip to content

IMF Denies Having Discussed Icesave with the UK

The permanent representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Iceland Franek Rozwadowski stated that the Icesave dispute is between Iceland and the UK and that the IMF is not involved, contrary to claims made by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The headquarters of Landsbanki in Reykjavík. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

On Wednesday, Brown stated at the UK parliament that talks between the British government and the IMF were ongoing on how quickly the Icelandic state is to repay the British state because of deposits that were held in Landsbanki’s online savings program Icesave in the UK, Fréttabladid reports.

“I find these comments strange and unacceptable,” Iceland’s Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Fréttabladid. “We consider this a two-sided matter [between Iceland and the UK] and expect others to do the same. This is a serious matter for the IMF if there is some truth in this.”

Sigfússon stated that it sometimes seems as if Britain doesn’t consider the Icesave dispute a two-sided discussion. Rozwadowski, on the other hand, guaranteed that, “This is a two-sided matter that has to be solved by the two parties involved.”

Rozwadowski maintained that, as a rule, the IMF does not interfere with such disputes between member states and this case is no different.

Sigfússon added that naturally Iceland cannot control with whom Britain has talks with and that Brown must take responsibility for his statements. “This was probably said in self-defense at the parliament,” Sigfússon suggested.

The comments were made when Brown replied to an unprepared request on the Christies hospital in Manchester, which lost its deposits in Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, which was a British bank under the supervision of the British Financial Supervisory Authority. However, Brown claimed that Britain had not been responsible for supervising the bank.

Brown went on to explain that the responsibility to repay the deposits lie first and foremost with the Icelandic authorities, adding that Britain is currently negotiating with the IMF and other institutions on how quickly Iceland can repay the debts for which Iceland is responsible.

According to Fréttabladid, the loss of deposits in Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander is not the responsibility of Icelandic authorities and no official claim has been received from the British government indicating that Britain holds Iceland responsible.

At press date, no reply had been received by the British government on what the nature of their negotiations with the IMF is, what other institutions Brown was referring to and whether he had been declaring a new claim on Icelandic authorities with his comments.

Click here to read more about Icesave.

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