The First Couple Residence Separated. A Scandal or a Tempest in a Teapot? Skip to content

The First Couple Residence Separated. A Scandal or a Tempest in a Teapot?

By Iceland Review

Yesterday Fréttabladid revealed that the President’s wife, Dorrit Moussaieff, has moved her legal residence to Great Britain. This has happened in spite of the legal requirement of couples to have the same residence. The Office of the President says that no official organs have objected.

Dorrit Moussaieff moved her legal residence in 2012. In Fréttabladid Örnólfur Thorsson, first secretary of the President, said the move was related to the home, work and family of the first lady in London. He said that the first couple had “certainly not split up. She will naturally be here [in Iceland] on the Independence Day [June 17].”

According to the National Registry couples have to provide proof that they are in the process of divorcing so that they can officially live in two separate places.

Last year Vidskiptabladid reported that Dorrit Moussaieff does not pay any wealth tax in Iceland even though she lives in Iceland and is married to an Icelander. Her family is very rich, and has been on The Times list of the world’s richest families, according to Fréttabladid.

Dorrit Moussaieff, Iceland’s First Lady. Photo: Office of the President.

Dorrit Moussaieff married the President on his 60th birthday, May 14 2003, a little more than ten years ago. She became an Icelandic Citizen in 2006.

According to Professor Sigurdur Líndal it is not according to the law for married couples to have legal residence in two separate homes.

The First lady said in a statement yesterday that her decision was made last year when her husband was contemplating not running for a fifth term. Therefore she would have more time to run her business in London, especially since her parents who have run the family company are now very aged. The move of address was done based on legal advice, connected to tax law.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was reelected in June 2012 but later it was revealed that the change of address had been at the end of the year, six months after the elections and nine months after the President decided to run for reelection.

In an interview on RÚV the first couple said this has nothing to do with taxes. Moussaieff said that English law prevented her from being an Icelandic resident.

The President said that the family had owned a diamond business for centuries. In the past few months it has come to light that her parents are very old; much older than is common in Iceland for running companies. He could not stop her from helping her family.

When asked about the special wealth tax that Moussaieff has not paid, she said that her possessions were mortgaged so high that her net worth was not so big, unfortunately. The first couple said that they knew of no quarrels with tax authorities.

Moussaieff concluded by saying that she would not leave their dog Sámur for good, she missed him more than her husband.


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