From Iceland — Former Ministers Could Get Up to Two Years in Prison

Former Ministers Could Get Up to Two Years in Prison

Published April 14, 2010

Former ministers mentioned in the Special Investigative Commission (SIC) report as being partially responsible for the collapse of Icelandic banks could get up to two years in prison, if found guilty.
According to Vísir, the maximum sentence a minister can be charged for violating the code of conduct for office is two years. A parliamentary committee, chaired by Leftist-Green MP Atli Gíslason, is currently measuring whether or not to file charges against the three former ministers implicated in the report: former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, and former Minister of Business Björgvin Sigurðsson.
Sigurðsson resigned as Minister of Business shortly after the bank collapse, and resigned again as Social Democrat party manager after the SIC report was released. Haarde has denied any responsibility for his part in the collapse – despite the report’s repeated assertions that he was terrified of former Central Bank chairman and current Morgunblaðið editor Davíð Oddsson, and that he purposefully kept Sigurðsson in the dark about the real financial situation in the country – and has said that the banks were the real culprits. Gísladóttir has not yet responded to any attempts from the media for a comment.
Gíslason cautioned for sobriety yesterday in any sort of prosecution of former ministers, saying in part, “One of the things [the committee has] to look at is whether or not ministerial responsibility was involved [in the crash]. This takes us from the traditional role as a parliamentary committee and to an executive power. There we need to tread very carefully, and take in all possible points of view on the matter.”
If the committee decides to press charges, it will submit a parliamentary resolution calling for charges to be made.
Vísir reports that the Special Prosecutor has not ruled out filing charges against Oddsson, or against the former chairman of the Financial Supervisory Authority, Jónas Fr. Jónsson.

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