The Economic Crime Department at the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police is currently investigating donations from publicly owned companies to political parties before the 2007 parliamentary elections. Four parties have possibly been in breach of law.
Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Such violations may result in fines or, in serious cases, imprisonment of up to six years, Fréttabladid reports.
The Independence Party accepted donations from three companies in public ownership: Neydarlínan, which provides emergency services, Íslandspóstur, the national post office, and Orkubú Vestfjarda, the West Fjords power company.
The Progressive Party, the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Movement also accepted donations from Íslandspóstur.
After the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police published this information, the political parties announced that they would repay the donations.
According to laws on the finances of political associations, which took effect at the beginning of 2007, donations cannot be accepted from companies that are in majority ownership of the state or the municipalities.
Last spring, the Economic Crime Department announced its intention to investigate a possible connection between the ISK 30 million (USD 237,000, EUR 151,000) donation from FL Group to the Independence Party and the so-called REI case, involving the planned merger of Reykjavík Energy Invest and Geysir Green Energy.
Furthermore, an investigation had been planned of the connection between Landsbanki’s ISK 25 million (USD 197,000, EUR 126,000) donation to the Independence Party and the establishment of Landsvirkjun Power and fringe benefits that the nation’s elected representatives enjoyed, such as a salmon fishing trip organized by Haukur Leósson, chairman of Reykjavík Energy, in August 2007.
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has now confirmed that there was not enough evidence to launch a formal investigation into these matters.
However, the Investigative Committee of the Althingi parliament is currently looking into the relations between the banks and elected representatives in the past few years.
Click here to read more about donations to political parties.