The principal proceedings in the case concerning Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of more than five percent of shares in Iceland’s Kaupþing Bank shortly before it collapsed in autumn 2008 was postponed for an undecided period of time in Reykjavík District Court this morning.
Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Ragnar H. Hall and Gestur Jónsson, the defense lawyers of Sigurður Einarsson, former Kaupþing chair, and Ólafur Ólafsson, who used to be one of the bank’s majority owners, did not show up in court as they had already announced, visir.is reports.
Ragnar and Gestur reasoned that they could not serve as defense lawyers in this case anymore as the rights of their clients had been violated during the investigation.
Special Prosecutor Ólafur Þór Hauksson criticized their conduct in an interview with Fréttablaðið, stating that if their successors would do the same, the case could be postponed for all eternity. “This could lead to legal amendments being made to prevent such conduct.”
Sigurður’s and Ólafur’s new defense lawyers, Ólafur Eiríksson and Þórólfur Jónsson, attended the trial instead.
Sigurður and Ólafur are accused of market manipulation and breach of trust, as are Magnús Guðmundsson, former head of Kaupþing in Luxembourg, and Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, the bank’s former CEO. They were all present this morning.
Around 50 witnesses will appear before the court in the case, which is among the most extensive that has ever been heard in Icelandic courts.