Investors Union Sues SPRON Savings Bank Skip to content

Investors Union Sues SPRON Savings Bank

The Investors Union has filed charges against the board of SPRON Savings Bank and its CEO Gudmundur Hauksson for their failure to disclose that three former board members, Hildur Petersen, Gunnar Thór Gíslason and Ásgeir Baldurs, sold their capital shares in the bank in the summer of 2007 shortly before it was listed on the stock market.

Árni Gunnarsson, former MP, Gudrún Árnadóttir and Vilhjálmur Bjarnason all signed their names to the lawsuit on behalf of the Investors Union and submitted it to the public prosecutor and Helgi Magnús Gunnarsson, prosecutor for economic crimes, yesterday, 24 Stundir reports.

In summer 2007, Petersen was the chairman of the board and Gíslason and Baldurs were board members, and the complainants state that they sold their capital shares on an unregistered market without publically disclosing the dealings. When they sold their shares, the board had allegedly already decided to incorporate SPRON and list it to the stock market.

The board of SPRON and Hauksson have been charged with fraud and violating laws on the handling of insider information. The current chairman of the board, Erlendur Hjaltason, and board member Ari Bergmann Einarsson also face the same charges.

According to 24 Stundir, on July 17 of last year the board of SPRON agreed to seek approval from capital share holders to incorporate the company and list it on the stock market. At the board meeting an estimate on SPRON’s value, undertaken by Capacent, was presented, in which the bank valued at ISK 59.4 billion (USD 632 million, EUR 433 million).

Petersen, Gíslason and Baldurs sold their capital shares with the combined nominal value of ISK 200 million (USD 2.13 million, EUR 1.46 million). Shortly after the board of SPRON decided to pursue listing the company on the market, the capital shares of SPRON were sold for ISK 24 to 30 (USD 0.25 to 0.31, EUR 0.17 to 0.21) per share.

When SPRON was listed on October 23, 2007 the capital share rate was ISK 18.7. Since then in the share price dropped to ISK 3.4, which is the current rate of capital shares in SPRON, in keeping with the general downswing on the stock market for the past year.

According to 24 Stundir, the lawsuit states that the complainants have information that the employees of SPRON advised investors that the capital shares of the bank would increase considerably once the company was listed.

The economic crimes prosecutor stated in a letter dated June 23, 2008 that he does not intend to investigate the former board members’ sale of their capital shares in SPRON based on the information he had at the time.

Complainants now demand that police or the public prosecutor launch a thorough investigation into the transaction and make a decision on whether the board of SPRON and its CEO can be charged.

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