Worldwide Freezing of Iceland Tycoon’s Assets Requested Skip to content

Worldwide Freezing of Iceland Tycoon’s Assets Requested

A London court has requested the freezing of assets held by Icelandic tycoon Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson around the world, according to an announcement released by the winding-up committee of the Icelandic bank Glitnir last night.

Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Moreover, the winding-up committee announced that Glitnir Bank’s case against Jóhannesson, who used to be the bank’s majority shareholder, began in the Supreme Court of the State of New York yesterday, reports.

“There are documents at hand which support the assumption that Glitnir Bank was robbed from the inside,” commented Steinunn Gudbjartsdóttir, chairwoman of Glitnir’s winding-up committee.

“The lawsuit is a positive step in the direction of making a group of few people shoulder the responsibility for having deliberately, or because of negligence, had such a large part in the bank’s collapse,” Gudbjartsdóttir added.

The winding-up committee of Glitnir is also taking former Glitnir CEO Lárus Welding, chairman Thorsteinn Jónsson along with other Glitnir board members, shareholders and related parties to court in the US for having helped Jóhannesson in the defrauding of more than USD 2 billion (EUR 1.6 billion) from the bank.

The request to freeze his assets is unrelated to the New York court case. The freezing of Welding’s assets has also been requested, along with the assets of Pálmi Haraldsson in Iceland, who is a former Glitnir board member.

The winding-up committee of Glitnir said it is also suing PricewaterhouseCoopers, the bank’s former auditing company, for allowing and participating in “the hiding of the fraudulent trading” undertaken by Jóhannesson and his associates, which in the end, led to the fall of Glitnir in October 2008.

The cases of Glitnir’s winding-up committee are presented by Steptoe & Johnson LLP in New York and Slaughter & May in London.

Jóhannesson, the majority owner of the conglomerate Baugur Group, which has now gone bankrupt, lives in the UK. He is on the board of some well-known companies, including Iceland Foods and House of Fraser.

Click here to read more about Jóhannesson.

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