Minister of Finance: New Icesave Deal Not Expected Skip to content

Minister of Finance: New Icesave Deal Not Expected

Iceland’s Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said at parliament yesterday that there is no reason to think that Icelandic, British and Dutch authorities will have to renegotiate on the Icesave deposits because of the disclaimers Iceland has introduced.

Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

Sigfússon was responding to a question posed by MP Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson of the Progressive Party on whether foreign specialists would be recruited to such negotiations or whether the same negotiation committee with Svavar Gestsson as chair would represent Iceland, Fréttabladid reports.

Sigfússon said that he did not want to speculate on such things since that would not be a good message to the outside world. The only message that should be delivered for the time being is that a solution to the Icesave case is being worked on. The minister then pointed out that Gestsson’s committee had been assisted by foreign experts.

The government’s bill on state guarantee in relation to the agreement with British and Dutch authorities on Iceland compensating Landsbanki’s Icesave depositors was approved with disclaimers by the Althingi parliament’s Economic and Tax committee on Saturday night.

According to Fréttabladid, the disclaimers include the following:

If it is later revealed that Iceland and other EEA states are not obligated to secure deposits, Iceland’s state guarantee will be determined after negotiations between the Icelandic, British and Dutch governments. If negotiations do not take place, Althingi has the authority to limit state guarantee.

If discussions on amendments are requested according to the provision on revision, Althingi is obligated to give its approval.

The minister of finance will report to Althingi on the status of the reclamation of Landsbanki’s assets. Total debt, debt burden and repayment ability is to be assessed regularly.

The minister of finance will establish conditions for the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund in relation to the state guarantee in a special agreement.

The government will immediately take action to reclaim funds that was accumulated in the Icesave accounts. It will cooperate with foreign governments and be assisted in tracing where the funds went. The government will also make sure that those who were financially responsible for the commitments will pay for the damage.

Click here to read more about the Economic and Tax committee’s decision and here to read an article written by US economist Michael Hudson on this topic.

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