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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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Cat Shelter Packed With Kittens

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Kattholt cat shelter is tightly packed with lots of kittens in need of a home, reports mbl.is. As this is the most romantic time of year for cats, it is the busiest time of year for Kattholt cat shelter, known in English as the Friends of Cats Society of Iceland. “About 500 cats have been brought to Kattholt this year,” said Kattholt employee Halldóra Snorradóttir. “These are lost and homeless cats and the number of cats coming in never goes down… When cats come to us, we first try to track down their owner and if that doesn’t work we try

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Bárðarbunga Volcano Watch: The Morning Edition

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Bárðarbunga volcano continues to rumble but as yet there is no eruption to report, so here is a round up last night’s news. 01:35 – An earthquake measuring 3 or higher on the Richter scale struck the area around Bárðarbunga volcano around 11:30 pm last night, reports RÚV. Since midnight roughly 50 earthquakes have been reported and in total 1000 earthquakes were measured Wednesday. Scientists flying over Bárðarbunga yesterday confirmed that so far there are no changes to the glacial surface of the volcano. 20:56 - Kristján Jónsson, a geologist with the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, has said that although he cannot confirm

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Directorate Of Health Wants Junk Food Tax

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The Directorate of Health wants to see taxes increased on candy and soda, and decreased on fruits, vegetables and fish. MBL reports that the Directorate has grave concerns about the eating habits of Icelanders, and are particularly worried about a government proposal to lower the so-called “sugar tax”. The Directorate believes that reducing consumption of certain foods and increasing consumption of others requires government intervention in the form of how these foods are taxed. According to a report from a work group under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Welfare, about 21% of adult Icelanders have a BMI of 30

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Airline Row Going To EFTA

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A legal dispute between WOW Air and Icelandair will be appealed to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). A decision from the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision made by Reykjavík District Court, which ruled that the dispute would not go to EFTA. The original request to take the dispute to the international authority was made by Icelandair and Isavia, the company which operates Keflavík International Airport. WOW Air originally filed the legal complaint, against both Icelandair and Isavia, as well as The Competition Authority (ICA). The dispute centres around the parsing out of flight times between the two airlines,

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VIDEO: Killer Whales Playing By Bolungarvík

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An alert journalist in the right place at the right time recorded killer whales frolicking off the coast of Bolungarvík, in the Westfjords of Iceland. Víkari, Bolungarvík’s news outlet, reports that Guðbjörg Stefanía Hafþórsdóttir spotted three killer whales off the coast of Ósvör, just east of Bolungarvík. As their play intensified, they eventually swam right by the Bolungarvík harbor. Guðbjörg managed to record two of the whales swimming about ten  metres from shore, gleefully playing with an eiderduck, throwing it around (nobody said killer whales were particularly nice), which you view  below. Killer whales only number in the hundreds around

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Bárðarbunga Volcano Watch: The Afternoon Edition

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Volcano watch is still in full swing, but no eruption yet. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of the day’s Bárðarbunga news so far: 13:23 – The closure of the area north of Vatnajökull glacier has already lead to significant financial losses for the local tourism industry, reports RÚV. In light of recent evacuations, mountain huts and guest accommodations at Kverkfjöll and Askja have had to close now for the winter, nearly a month earlier than planned, despite nearly full bookings for the remainder of the season. 12:53 – Should this eruption occur, Friðþór Eydal, a spokesman for ISAVIA, which

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