From Iceland — Clearer Rules Needed on Role of President

Clearer Rules Needed on Role of President

Published April 13, 2010

Clearer guidelines for what the role of the Icelandic president is need to be established, says the Special Investigative Commission (SIC) in its report on the bank collapse of 2008.
This recommendation is made in light of findings that President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson spent a lot of time touting the prowess of Icelandic businessmen to other nations of the world, but also because of several personal letters of recommendation he made to heads of states on behalf of Icelandic businessmen.
In 2005, for example, the president wrote a letter of recommendation for Björgólf Thor Björgólfsson to the crown prince and princess of Serbia, in the hopes that this would aid Björgólfsson’s efforts to establish business in the country. Later the same year, he would write a similar letter to the president of Bulgaria on Björgólfsson’s behalf.
In the spring of 2008, he wrote a letter to the prince of the United Arab Emirites, expressing his great pleasure that the president’s friend, Kaupthing chairman Sigurður Einarsson, had told the president that Kaupthing had been hired in a consultancy capacity to build up Abu Dhabi.
On 22 May 2008, the president wrote a glowing letter of recommendation about Kaupthing to the emir of Qatar, who would later buy stock in Kaupthing.

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