Minister of Business Gylfi Magnússon, speaking at a press conference,
took questions from reporters about the state of the economy in a
brief but surprisingly frank exchange.
Among other things, Magnússon said that in the course of their investigation of the banking collapse thus far, it’s become apparent that certain individuals created money that simply wasn’t there, changed borrowed money to assets, and purchased assets for unrealistic prices.
The minister also said that perhaps these investors were trying to fool themselves, but they shouldn’t have deceived others in the process. Whether this will result in criminal prosecutions remains to be seen, but from his point of view as an economist it is clear that certain individuals invented money on paper that didn’t exist.
While Enron did become a criminal investigation, Magnússon said it would be nearly impossible to make a criminal investigation out of the entirety of the Icelandic economy. On the other hand, there were certain operations that could lead to criminal investigations, and much that was unethical, even if it was perfectly legal.