From Iceland — How Close Are Magma and the Social Dems?

How Close Are Magma and the Social Dems?

Published August 27, 2010

Fréttablaðið has uncovered documents that show numerous correspondences
from Magma Energy to Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson
and Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir.
The correspondence began, according to Vísir, while Össur was still Minister of Industry in the spring of 2009, and were sent from Magma Iceland CEO Ásgeir Margeirsson.
On 27 April 2009, a few days after emergency elections, Ásgeir sent Össur – who was then minister of industry and foreign affairs – an email asking for a meeting with the minister to discuss energy issues in Suðurnes. At that time, Geysir Green Energy – of which Ásgeir was the director at that time – was in the middle of negotiations with Magma Energy in selling its share of HS Orka.
This is then followed by numerous emails to Kristján Skarphéðinsson, manager of the Ministry of Industry, regarding investment in HS Orka. These emails also detail meetings with Össur, and with Ross Beaty.
On 3 June 2009, Ásgeir again emails Össur and Kristján – despite the fact that Össur was no longer minister of industry and, even as minister of foreign affairs, would have no jurisdiction with regards to foreign investors; that would be handled by the ministry of economics and business. Ásgeir complains about opposition to Magma Energy from Leftist-Greens, and expresses the hope that Össur and Kristján can “straighten out this nonsense.”
On 18 August 2009, Ásgeir sent an email to current minister of industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir. There, he complains again about Leftist-Green opposition to Magma, and asks whether or not it’s possible to “turn the discussion around”. He again asks for a meeting with the minister, as he had the previous June.
Fréttablaðið also says it has in its possession a rough draft of a statement between Magma Energy and the Icelandic government, which says in part that “Icelandic interests” would be protected, and that foreign investors will never own more than 50% of HS Orka. The reality, as we know, turned out to be much different.
Fréttablaðið emphasizes that a number of documents are needed to complete the picture – namely, responses from both Össur and Katrín. Neither minister has yet commented to the press on the matter.

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