From Iceland — Kópavogur Mayor Accused of Corruption; Takes Leave of Absence

Kópavogur Mayor Accused of Corruption; Takes Leave of Absence

Published June 22, 2009

Embattled Kópavogur mayor Gunnar I. Birgisson has been accused by the chairman of the town pension fund of corruption, and has taken a leave of absence while police investigate.
Flosi Eiríksson, chairman of the Kópavogur Pension Fund, released a statement yesterday backed up by his colleagues stating that the mayor had intentionally – and without the knowledge of anyone on the pension fund – deceived the Icelandic Financial Services Authority (FME). He contends that the pension fund was made openly available to the town authority in the hopes of improving revenue returns. Instead, Eiríksson contends, the mayor used part of the funds for his own purposes. Eiríksson encouraged the state prosecutor’s office to investigate.
In response, Birgisson sent out a statement saying he intends to go on a temporary leave of absence, but emphasized to reporters at television station Stöð 2 that he believes he has committed no crime and engaged in no wrongdoing, and said he hoped the investigation would move swiftly along.
In light of this news, the Progressive Party – which maintains a majority coalition with the Independence Party, of which Birgisson is a member – is currently planning possible coalitions that could be formed without the party, and yet still stay in the majority.
Birgisson had been the focus of criticism for some time now for, among other things, awarding city contracts to a company owned by his daughter. Police and financial authorities are currently investigation Kópavogur’s financial records.

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