Ownership Decision on Bankrupt Companies Criticized Skip to content

Ownership Decision on Bankrupt Companies Criticized

Independence Party MP Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarsson would like to call director of Arion Bank Finnur Sveinbjörnsson before the parliament’s trade committee to explain why owners of companies that have been taken over by the bank are being allowed to participate in their operations after financial reorganization.

Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

According to RÚV, companies related to Ólafur Ólafsson of shipping company Samskip, who was one of the largest owners of Kaupthing Bank before the banking collapse, owe Arion Bank and the resolution committee of old Kaupthing more than ISK 200 billion (USD 1.6 billion, EUR 1.1 billion).

Moreover, Ólafsson is a suspect in the special prosecutor’s investigation of an alleged massive conspiracy on market abuse, where Sheik Mohamed bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar is believed to have been a front man in virtual trade of ISK 100 billion (USD 780 million, EUR 570 million).

Recently Samskip’s largest loan granters, the Dutch Fortis Bank and Arion Bank, decided that Ólafsson would remain the shipping company’s majority owner. Arion Bank claims that no debts were written off in relation to the reorganization of Samskip, neither at the company itself, nor at the parent company in the Netherlands.

Thórdarson is now eager to have both Sveinbjörnsson and the director of the state’s banking administration explain to the parliament’s trade committee how decisions were made in relation to Samskip, as well as to the commercial enterprise Hagar.

Ólafsson sent a comment to RÚV regarding their story on him, which was published on ruv.is. He said it is not correct that companies related to him owe Arion Bank and the resolution committee of Kaupthing Bank ISK 200 billion.

A company in his ownership, Kjalar, owes around ISK 90 billion to these parties but has also made a much higher claim to Kaupthing’s resolution committee due to currency exchange agreements which equals out the aforementioned debt, Ólafsson explained.

He also pointed out that he doesn’t have any personal debt with these banks or other banks in Iceland and that companies related to him have never been registered in tax havens. He criticizes RÚV for poor reporting.

In regard to the Al-Thani case, Ólafsson stated the investigation will show that he didn’t commit any crime.

Click here to read more about the Al-Thani story.

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