Jóhannes Haukur Hauksson, one of the owners of the piece of land Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum in northeast Iceland who was interested in selling it to Chinese investor Huang Nubo, said they will now advertise the land for sale within the EEA.
Jökulsárgljúfur, a national park close to Grímsstaðir. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“Now we will advertise the land for sale in the European Economic Area because there are 500 million people who live there who are permitted to buy it and don’t have to run their acquisition plans by Ögmundur,” Jóhannes told the radio station Bylgjan.
Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson announced on Friday that he would not grant Huang the legal exemption necessary for him as a non-EEA citizen to acquire the piece of land. Huang responded that he had been misinformed and will now back out of all his investment plans in Iceland.
The minister’s decision caused disappointment among some other ministers, representatives of the Icelandic tourism industry and the owners of Grímsstaðir, who are now looking into their legal position in this matter, visir.is reports.
Jóhannes said Ögmundur was negative in his comments on the acquisition which he later rejected and Jóhannes would like to examine whether his comments in the early stages of the affair may have caused him to be legally unfit to rule on it.
Jóhannes also criticizes the minister’s reasons for rejecting the offer, such as the vastness of the area Huang intended to acquire.
“When Ögmundur speaks of 300 square kilometers being for sale, he is simply wrong,” Jóhannes stated, pointing out that Grímsstaðir’s total size is in fact 220 square kilometers of which the state owns 25 percent and is not for sale. That excludes the area which Huang was prepared to give up due to water rights.
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