Recently convicted banker, former chairman of the Kaupthing board, Sigurður Einarsson, conducted an interview with RÚV last night, while seemingly heavily intoxicated.
An unnamed RÚV source who was present when the interview was broadcast has confirmed with the Grapevine that newsroom staff had been attempting to contact the convicted bankers, Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, Magnús Guðmundsson, Ólafur Ólafsson and Sigurður Einarsson before the news went live with no luck.
A few minutes before the broadcast began however, a journalist got through to Sigurður who offered to go live immediately.
As the intervening period between getting Sigurður on the phone and going live with the interview was so short, it did not become clear that Sigurður was intoxicated until the interview was already underway.
Bogi Ágústsson’s interview with Sigurður begins around the 04:15 mark in the video above.
Bogi: Sigurður Einarsson you are on the phone from London.
Sigurður: Yes, I’m on the phone…[inaudible mumbling]
Bogi: You described your innocence in an interview with Stöð 2 earlier, but when you hear comments like this, detailed in the verdict –
Sigurður: [inaudible mumbling] Can I say something quickly?
Bogi: Yes, please go ahead.
Sigurður: Yes, thank you. I have to say that I think it’s absolutely incredible that the Supreme Court came to this conclusion. And I have to say that they are convicting people for who they are, not what they did… and I’d like to explain a little more without getting interrupted because I know that… you know…[pause]
Bogi: … Yes that we don’t have that much time.
Sigurður: Yes, not a lot of time. But the thing is that, what we’re discussing here… is issues… and …yeah… and in reality… discussing that men have done something that isn’t legal.
Bogi: But Sigurður, look, we were just showing footage proving that the bank had supposedly sought out international investors and had intended to continue doing so to grow on the global markets but in all the case documents submitted to the court and in the verdict itself it shows that no investment money was ever transferred. That Kaupthing financed this entirely and-
Sigurður: No…[inaudible mumbling]
Bogi: -And committed serious violations-
Sigurður: What it is all about it is that no funds went out of the bank none went into the bank.
Sigurður: So the bank was positioned in exacly the same way before as it was after. That’s what this is all about. [silence]
Bogi: Yes, thank you Sigurður for getting on the phone with us.
As reported, the four bankers were convicted of conspiring to conceal the fact that one of the investors in Kaupthing, Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, owned his 5.01% stake in the bank thanks to money lent to him by the bank itself.
Investigations into the four go back to the Icelandic bank crash of 2008.