Tycoon Suspected of Dodgy Housing Business Skip to content

Tycoon Suspected of Dodgy Housing Business

Icelandic tycoon Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson allegedly paid up a USD 10 million (ISK 1.3 billion, EUR 8 million) mortgage for his luxury apartments in Manhattan a few weeks ago with a transaction from his personal account in the Royal Bank of Canada.

Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

According to RÚV, this was revealed in documents submitted at the Supreme Court of the State of New York, in the case of the winding-up committee of Glitnir Bank against Jóhannesson and six others which began in May.

The winding-up committee is demanding a payment of ISK 260 billion (USD 2.1 billion, EUR 1.7 billion), claiming that Jóhannesson was the leader of a group which emptied Glitnir from within for their own personal interests.

The defendants of the accused have until the end of this month to hand in an argumentation for dismissing the charge but defendants and prosecutors have already begun their battle.

For example, defendants have tried to overturn a demand that the Royal Bank of Canada has to reveal information about Jóhannesson’s affairs and that a real estate company in Gramercy Park in Manhattan is made submit documents on its trade with Jóhannesson.

Jóhannesson and his wife Ingibjörg Pálmadóttir purchased two apartments in the neighborhood. The documents that have been submitted state that the Royal Bank of Canada gave the couple a mortgage worth USD 10 million to buy the apartments and that the loan was paid up in mid-May.

The lawyers of Glitnir’s winding-up committee have pointed out that the apartments may have been bought for alleged illegal profits from the extensive violations the couple is accused of having orchestrated at Glitnir Bank, referencing the millions of dollars deposited into Jóhannesson’s alleged account at the Royal Bank of Canada.

Pálmadóttir told Fréttabladid that it isn’t true that her husband paid up the mortgage as stated on RÚV yesterday.

She claimed that Jóhannesson had never owned an account in the Royal Bank of Canada and never transferred money from there.

The apartments in Manhattan are in her name and she made an agreement with Landsbanki on the settlement of debts. Glitnir did not lend them money for the purchase, Pálmadóttir stated.

“The news story on RÚV is wrong in all aspects apart from the fact that Glitnir is suing me in New York for the sole reason that I am my husband’s ‘part self’ as Glitnir tastefully puts it,” Pálmadóttir said.

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