From Iceland — Possible That Icesave Could Cost Taxpayers Nothing

Possible That Icesave Could Cost Taxpayers Nothing

Published March 3, 2011

Supreme Court lawyer and opposition representative on the Icesave negotiations committee Lárus Blöndal claims that it is likely that the Icesave agreement soon up for referendum could end up costing taxpayers nothing, due to increasing assets at Landsbanki.
Speaking on the television news discussion programme Kastljósið, Lárus pointed out that Landsbanki’s profits continue to grow every quarter. The current Icesave deal specifies that the state only covers what the banks cannot pay back on the agreed amount owed.
Lárus says that Landsbanki’s total assets – including their partial ownership in other companies and their stock portfolio – have been estimated very conservatively. One stock portfolio, now valued at about 1 trillion ISK, was originally estimated to be worth about 350 billion ISK.
Meanwhile, RÚV reports that Landsbanki’s earnings increase of about 37 billion ISK brings the ultimate cost on the national treasury from 47 billion to 15 billion ISK.
One of the most prominent areas of contention among many opponents to the Icesave agreement has been that taxpayers should not cover losses incurred by private banks. If Landsbanki’s earnings are, in fact, enough to cover the amount of money that the UK and Holland claims Iceland owes over Icesave, then as the agreement specifies, the cost to the taxpayer is negligible.
The referendum on the Icesave agreement will be held 9 April.

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