Investigate Supreme Court Bias in Banking Collapse Skip to content
European Court of Human Rights

Investigate Supreme Court Bias in Banking Collapse

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will discuss the shareholdings of two Icelandic supreme court justices – specifically whether their losses in the 2008 banking collapse influenced their rulings on bankers. RÚV reports that Ólafur Ólafsson, one of the main owners of now-defunct Kaupþing bank, has sued justices Markús Sigurbjörnsson and Árni Kolbeinsson who ruled in the infamous Al-Thani case in which Ólafur was convicted of market abuse.

Big losses, heavy convictions

The Al-Thani case was one of the most extensive criminal cases in Iceland. The convictions received by the four defendants are also the most heavy ever given for financial crime. In the case, Ólafur and three other executives of Kaupþing were convicted of market abuse for falsifying transactions to keep stock prices high at the bank.

The defendants previously appealed the case to the ECHR, which concluded that Justice Árni Kolbeinsson was not impartial in his ruling due to his son’s work for Kaupþing. Ólafur’s current complaint concerns the two justices’ shareholdings before the banking collapse, which disappeared when Kaupþing declared bankruptcy in 2008.

The ECHR sent a letter to all parties involved in the case earlier this month. In the letter, the Icelandic state is requested to try and reach an agreement with Ólafur. If an agreement is not reached by December 2, the ECHR will continue its deliberations on the case and begin more substantive proceedings.

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