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President’s wife hitches ride on Baugur private jet

Iceland weekly Séð og Heyrt, a glossy magazine which primarily covers the local glitterati, has revealed that Mrs. Dorrit Moussaieff, second wife of the current President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, hitched a ride on a private jet back to Iceland to attend a fashion show held by fashion company Mosaic last Friday. According to Séð og Heyrt, the private jet was paid for by the Icelandic investment company Baugur. Traveling with Mrs. Moussaieff were Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and his girlfriend, Ingibjörg Pálmadóttir. Baugur is Mosaic’s largest shareholder.

(See Iceland Review, Daily News, June 13, “Becks plays hookie at fashion show,” and June 7, “Mosaic raises money in Iceland.”)

The light Nordic night provided no cover for the onetime Tatler correspondent, Mrs. Moussaieff, when Séð og Heyrt reporters filmed an SUV owned by the Office of the President at Reykjavík airport picking her up from the Baugur jet as she arrived in the early hours of Friday morning.

Several anonymous government MP’s and one minister expressed indignation at Mrs. Moussaieff’s “lack of judgment” to reporters of TV-station Stöð 2 Wednesday night, but none dared to go on record. When asked if he considered it appropriate for the wife of the President to travel on a private jet paid for by Baugur a spokesman for the president’s office, Örnólfur Thorsson, said “we have never commented on the reporting of Séð og Heyrt about the President and his family, and will not start doing so now.”

In an editorial, Séð og Heyrt observed that it is only one year since Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson vetoed a media bill which would have forced Baugur to divest several of its media assets. Séð og Heyrt finds the close and friendly ties between the President and Baugur management “curious”. It concludes by saying, “surely the Icelandic nation must demand that the President show independence, at least to the extent of not accepting gifts or other perks offered by large companies.”

In today’s Morgunblaðið, presidential spokesman Örnólfur Thorsson explains that there are currently no rules in effect concerning the travel arrangements of the President and related parties, nor has there been any need for such rules. This is the first and only time that Mrs. Moussaieff has traveled with the Baugur private jet. She had been in Venice at an art show when she accepted the offer of Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and Ingibjörg Pálmadóttir to join them on their return trip to Iceland. Mrs. Moussaieff was still in Iceland, said Örnólfur Thorsson, and had other business there besides attending the Mosaic fashion show.

The media has not yet reported on Mrs. Moussaieff’s husband’s reaction to her trip on the Baugur private plane with one of Iceland’s wealthiest couples. Before running for president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was a Member of Parliament and served as chairman of the now-defunct communist People’s Alliance Party.

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