Geir Haarde Verdict: Guilty ... Sorta - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Geir Haarde Verdict: Guilty … Sorta

The national court has found former prime minister Geir H. Haarde guilty of one charge of four of negligence and mismanagement during his time in office, contributing to the economic crash of 2008. He will not be punished, and the state is to pay for his legal expenses.
Just moments ago, RÚV reports, he was found guilty of one of the four charges of negligence levied against him. In particular, the charge is that he either knew or should have known that he had to respond in some way to the information he had been receiving that the economy was unstable.
However, as Vísir reports, he will not receive any sentence – whether prison time or a fine – for the charge he has been convicted of. Furthermore, the Icelandic government will have to pay for his legal expenses, which total 24 million ISK.
As reported, the Special Investigative Commission report on the causes of the economic collapse singled out, among others, Geir as a negligent prime minister who ignored warnings that the economy was at the breaking point, and who was frankly terrified of former Central Bank chairman Davíð Oddsson. Parliament narrowly voted to press charges against Geir, and determined that he must stand trial.
The trial, held throughout the spring, featured numerous witnesses coming to testify, including Davíð Oddsson. Prosecutor Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir concluded her final arguments by stating that when it comes to the personal responsibility of a government minister, the law is clear. Geir had many opportunities to step in and prevent disaster, she said, all of which he chose to ignore. Andri Árnason, Geir’s defence attorney, argued on the other hand that many matters were kept deliberately hidden from Geir until it was too late, if they were revealed at all.
The full 500-page version of the national court’s decision will be posted on their website later today.


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