A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.

Tycoon Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson Guilty Of Tax Evasion

Published February 7, 2013

The Supreme Court of Iceland ruled today that ex-Baugur boss Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson was guilty of tax evasion for filing erroneous tax returns on 172 million ISK of earnings and also convicted him on several counts of tax irregularities related to Baugur.
Also convicted alongside Jón Ásgeir were his sister, Kristin Jóhannesdóttir, and former Baugur employee Tryggvi Jónsson, The Telegraph reports. Jóhannesson received a 12-month suspended sentence and was fined 62 million ISK, Kristín received a 3-month suspended sentence, and Tryggvi was handed an 18-month suspended sentence and was fined 32 million ISK.
“All the defendants are found guilty of a major infringement of tax laws. In determining the penalty for their actions, the delay in the case proceedings has to be taken into consideration,” the presiding justice said.
For his part, Jón Ásgeir called the size of the fines “peanuts” and, following the ruling, said “They didn’t find the big crime they wanted and nobody goes to jail,” Reuters reports.
Further legal battles await Jón Ásgeir in relation to his involvement as the largest shareholder in failed bank Glitnir. He stands accused of improperly influencing the bank regarding a loan of 1.2 billion GBP granted to Baugur just prior to the financial collapse. For this charge prosecutors are seeking six years imprisonment.
This is not the first time that Jón Ásgeir has faced legal woes. He and his father, Jóhannes Jónsson, were charged with 40 counts of tax and accounting irregularities, fraud and embezzlement in 2005. In 2007 he was found guilty of breaching book-keeping rules.
Baugur was an investment company that was founded by Jón Ásgeir and his father, Jóhannes, with the establishment of the supermarket chain Bónus in 1989. Over the years the Baugur Group acquired Hagkaup, and franchised or acquired majority holding of several large brands, like Karen Millen, Debenhams, Top Shop, and Hamleys, among others. They also controlled 365 media company, which owns six television channels, five radio stations, one newspaper (Fréttablaðið), and five periodicals.
While Baugur Group went bust in 2009 (under a spiderweb of circumstances typical to the financial collapse that cannot be summarized here), one of its arms, Baugur-Iceland, continues to exist today under the name Hagar and manages many of ex-Baugur’s retail holdings.


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Geir Haarde Lands Washington D.C Ambassadorial Post

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Former Prime Minister of Iceland, Geir H. Haarde, has landed a pivotal ambassadorial post in Washington D.C, reports RÚV. Geir is most known for being prime minister during Iceland’s 2008 economic meltdown. In 2010, parliament voted in favour of Geir standing trial for negligence and mismanagement while in office. Geir was eventually found guilty of one of the four charges of negligence levied against him. As reported, the charge was that he either knew or should have known that he had to respond in some way to the information he had been receiving that the economy was unstable. Prosecutor Sigríður

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Iceland Sends Men Only To UN Conference On Women

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Iceland, considered a global leader in gender equality, has announced it will send only men to a U.N. conference on women and gender equality, reports ABC. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders on Monday that the January “barbershop” conference will be unique, “as it will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only male leaders to discuss gender equality.” It won’t however, be the first time in history that male leaders get together to discuss women’s issues, without any women present. According to Gunnar Bragi, the

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Tax Committee Chair: “No Choice” But For Government To Buy Tax Evasion Evidence

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The chairperson of parliament’s Tax and Economics Committee believes the Icelandic government should buy evidence of tax evasion, a sample of which has already been offered to authorities. RÚV reports that Frosti Sigurjónsson, a Progressive MP and the chairperson of the Tax and Economics Committee, believes the government should pay to receive only legal documentation of Icelanders evading taxes. If the documents were illegally obtained, he added, this detail would certainly “complicate” matters. “If it’s true what I’ve heard, that the Germans have gone this way, buying this kind of information, than I believe we have no choice but to

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No Known Icelanders In ISIS

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The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police confirms there is no evidence that any Icelanders have joined forces with the theocratic extremist group ISIS. Vísir reports that they sent a formal inquiry to the police on the matter, and were informed that – to the best of anybody’s knowledge – no Icelandic citizens have joined forces with ISIS. As far-fetched as the possibility may sound, European Union anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove told the BBC that over 3,000 EU citizens have already joined ISIS. Closer to home, Vísir adds that at the beginning of the summer, Danish secret services revealed

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Murder In Breiðholt

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A 28-year-old man is in police custody, suspected of having strangled his wife. The suspect denies the charges against him. RÚV reports police were alerted to the scene shortly after midnight yesterday, at which time the victim had been dead for a few hours. It is also reported that the couple’s two children, aged two and five, were in the home at the time of death, but were asleep. Vísir reports that the suspect denies killing his wife, and was led into Reykjavík District Court yesterday for a custody hearing. He will remain in police custody until October 17. “These

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Volcano Watch: Lava Field Bigger Than Lake Mývatn

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The lava field created by the Holuhraun eruption is now 44.5 square kilometres, reports RÚV. By comparison, Lake Mývatn is 37 km2. Seismic activity continues to be strong with as many as 60 earthquakes reported in the Bárðarbunga area on Saturday. The largest earthquake reported yesterday had a magnitude of 5.2 and the subsidence of Bárðarbunga caldera continues. Since September 12, the caldera has subsided by 7 metres and the subsidence has now reached the caldera’s half-way point. Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management services have closed roads in the Northeast, north of Dyngjufall as well as some roads out

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