From Iceland — Meet the Magma Committee; Magma Says Björk Is Wrong

Meet the Magma Committee; Magma Says Björk Is Wrong

Published August 3, 2010

The independent committee that the Prime Minister called for to investigate the legality of Magma Energy’s purchase of HS Orka has finally been assembled.
In the wake of news that the government would not confirm the Magma Deal, the Prime Minister also called for such a committee to investigate the privatization of power companies in Iceland over the years. Utilities used to be in public ownership, but the previous conservative government allowed these companies to privatize.
The new committee will be led by former Supreme Court judge Hjördís Hákonardóttir. Also on the committee will be MML in international business Bjarnveig Eiríksdóttir; doctor of industrial engineering Sveinn Margeirsson; University of Iceland philosophy docent Ólafur Páll Jónsson; and lawyer Aagot Óskarsdóttir. Advising the committee will be municipal rights lecturer for the University of Iceland Trausti Fannar Valsson.
The committee itself has no legal power. It serves in an advisory capacity to the government. Their findings are expected to be returned this month.
The spuriousness of the legality of Magma Energy’s purchase of HS Orka stems from the fact that Iceland has laws preventing non-European countries from purchasing Icelandic utility companies. Magma got around this law by creating a puppet company in Sweden. Magma Energy admits this maneuver, and claim they are within the bounds of the law.
In related news, Ásgeir Margeirsson, the director of Magma in Iceland, told reporters that claims Björk Guðmundsdóttir has made that Magma Energy intends to buy up more power companies in Iceland are untrue. Magma Energy is only interested in HS Orka, he said, and nothing more. He also added that the accusation that Magma Energy was “buying natural resources in Iceland” is also untrue; they are renting them, he said, which is different.

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