From Iceland — Interior Minister Less Than Pleased With Huang Nubo Deal

Interior Minister Less Than Pleased With Huang Nubo Deal

Published July 18, 2012

Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson strongly criticised the new details which recently came to light about Chinese entrepreneur Huang Nubo’s plans for Iceland.
As reported, Huang Nubo originally wanted to buy Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum, comprising about 30,639 hectares in northeast Iceland, for the development of a resort. However, Icelandic law forbids foreigners from purchasing property, and so an agreement was made that he could lease the land from surrounding municipalities instead.
While initial details of the rental deal stipulated a 40-year lease for a luxury hotel and golf course, Huang Nubo told reporters in Beijing recently that he also was given the option to rent the land for another 40 years at the lease’s conclusion. In addition, he said he plans to build 100 villas “mostly for wealthy Chinese”, with “the remaining about 300 square kilometers of land will be developed into a mountain park that provides services like hiking, horseback riding and hang gliding to tourists around the globe”.
These new details have evoked strong criticism from Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson, DV reports, who has been opposed to the land deal from the start.
“We’re not talking about some shop by Jökullsá river,” he said, pointing out that Huang Nubo’s plans were a massive undertaking that would likely have a great environmental impact. “If people can rent land for this length of time, it becomes more or less equivalent to land ownership.”
As the matter is in the hands of local municipalities in the northeast, Ögmundur encouraged them to take a better look at the deal, and seriously consider “coming back down to earth”.

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