From Iceland — Lawyer Says Wiretaps In Legal Grey Area

Lawyer Says Wiretaps In Legal Grey Area

Published January 12, 2012

A lawyer has criticised the Special Prosecutor for the use of wiretaps of certain key figures his office is investigating, saying that they stray into a legal grey area.
As reported, Special Prosecutor Ólafur Þór Hauksson admitted last December that he had used wiretaps on a number of suspects being investigated for violating laws which may have contributed to Iceland’s financial collapse. Some of the information gathered has contributed to the interrogations of some of these individuals.
Eyjan reports that lawyer Sigurður G. Guðjónsson has complained about the use of wiretapping of certain individuals, among them tycoon couple Jón Ásgeir and Ingibjörg Pálmadóttir, former bank manager of Havilland Magnús Guðmundsson, and former director of Sjóvá Þór Sigfússon.
Sigurður’s main complaint is that these individuals are not informed that they are being wiretapped until long after they have been started, in some cases up to a year and a half. According to Icelandic law, someone being wiretapped has to be informed of it as soon as investigators have obtained the information they need. He added that wiretaps are also only permitted for those facing at least eight years in prison for the crimes they are accused of. The maximum sentence for economic crimes, however, is six years.
Ólafur Þór responded to the criticisms by saying that the point of wiretaps is the suspects are not aware they are being listened in on. As soon as all pertinent information has been gathered, he said, the taps will be ceased and the suspects informed.

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