Yesterday the Supreme Court of Iceland dismissed 32 of 40 charges against Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and his colleagues. The eight remaining charges will come before the Reykjavík District Court. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reports that the most important charges in the case were dismissed including charges relating to fraud, breach of trust and violations on the companies code.
According to the Supreme Court verdict the reasons for dismissing the charges is as follows: the description of the alleged crime is flawed; how the alleged crime relates to the law is flawed; the alleged crime does not match the description of the crime and sometimes even contradicts the description; in many cases it was not clear how each of the accused was involved in perpetrating the alleged crime. The verdict also said that the indictment was unclear.
The remaining charges related to the annual reports and automobiles that were imported to Iceland. In charges 33-36, Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, former Baugur CEO Tryggvi Jónsson, and KPMG accountants Stefán Hilmar Stefánsson, and Anna Thórdardóttir, are charged with giving misleading information on loans to shareholders, the board of directors, managing directors and others closely involved in Baugur’s annual reports from 1998 – 2001.
In charges 37 – 40 Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir, his father and sister are charged with evading import duties and preparing false documents in connection with automobiles they imported from the US. They are charged with evading paying ISK 2.3 million in taxes and import duties.
In a released statement yesterday Baugur’s board of directors appeals to the government to stop harassing the company. According to the statement Baugur has been a victim of a police investigation for three years that has caused the company immeasurable damage.
The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reports that Jón H. B Snorrason, prosecutor and head of the Economic Crime Division of the Office of the National Commissioner of Police, said yesterday that it was possible that new charges would be filed against Baugur. He emphasized that the dismissal did not relate to the substance of the charges only the form.
Gestur Jónsson lawyer for Baugur CEO Jón Ásgeir, said the outcome confirmed what they had said all along – the prosecutor’s case was extremely poorly prepared.
Einar Thór Sverrisson, lawyer for Jóhannes Jónsson, father and business partner of Jón Ásgeir, said the most substantial charges made by the National Commissioner of Police charges had now been dismissed. He said that this was a tremendous blow for the prosecution and the nation deserved an explanation.