The Dutch Minister of Finance Wouter Bos said in an interview that the Icelandic state will be taken to court if it does not honor its obligations towards the roughly 120,000 Dutch accounts holder in Landsbanki Bank’s online savings bank Icesave.
“If it turns out that false information was given out then we will clearly take legal action against Icelandic authorities,” Bos told Elsevier magazine, according to Morgunbladid.
The Dutch Central Bank will cover deposits of account holders up to EUR 100,000 (USD 136,000), but Icelandic authorities are expected to take responsibility for EUR 20,887 (USD 28,461).
According to an article published in Telegraaf yesterday, Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said during yesterday’s press conference that the Netherlands would have to take responsibility for Dutch deposits in Icelandic banks. It would therefore help, the article argued, if the Netherlands made a public statement similar to British authorities’ statement.
The paper cites Bos’ comment at parliament yesterday that it is possible that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would assist Iceland during the economic crisis. Bos then said that Dutch authorities would not recommend that the IMF assists Iceland until it is guaranteed that Icelandic authorities will honor their obligations towards Dutch savings account holders.
Iceland’s Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen told Morgunbladid that Bos has not tried to contact him. The manager of his ministry has, however, discussed the matter with the Dutch ambassador in Iceland and other officials.
Mathiesen hoped formal discussions could be established with Dutch authorities like those that are underway with the British authorities. Mathiesen will meet both Bos and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling at the general meeting of the World Bank in Washington later in the week.
Landsbanki Bank launched online Icesave savings accounts, both in the UK (in October 2006) and in the Netherlands (in May 2008). Landsbanki was nationalized on Tuesday.
Click here to read more about the Icesave debate between Iceland and the UK.