Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, perhaps best known as the former director of former corporate giant Baugur Group, is planning to sue former Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason, over his book about the history of Baugur in Iceland.
This is not the first time the two have butted heads. The Independence Party (from which Björn hails) and Baugur Group have come to very public conflicts in the past. In 2004, the party submitted a bill to parliament that would have broken up the vast control Jón Ásgeir had over the country’s media. The bill was not signed by the president, for the first time in Icelandic history, and the party subsequently withdrew the bill rather than put it up for referendum.
Björn, a staunch conservative and seen to represent the farther-right of the Independence Party, wrote a book called Rosabaug yfir Íslandi, which chronicles the history of the company in Iceland. Jón Ásgeir is less than happy with the book, and his lawyer told reporters that he plans to sue Björn for libel.
Björn’s book had, for example, contended that Jón Ásgeir has been convicted of embezzlement. This is not true – he was convicted of accounting fraud. Björn has since corrected this, both to the media and on his website.
Gestur Jónsson, Jón Ásgeir’s lawyer, told reporters that this is not the only bit of wrong information in Björn’s book, and they are therefore going to sue him for libel. He would not comment on what damages they are seeking.