From Iceland — MPs Propose Investigating PM's Possible Ties To Media

MPs Propose Investigating PM’s Possible Ties To Media

Published June 8, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Several MPs have called for looking into Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s possible connections to local media – ties he says do not exist.

Shortly after his would-be blackmailers were arrested, it was reported that the information being used to extort the Prime Minister connected him to the purchase of newspaper DV by the media company Vefpressan.

Kjarninn now reports that several MPs – from the ruling coalition and the opposition alike – have called for a closer look being taken at possible ties between the Prime Minister and local media.

Pirate captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Bright Future MP Róbert Marshall have both called for such an investigation between Sigmundur Davíð and the Icelandic media, as well as with Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, who owns Vefpressan and chairs DV, and was once a city councilperson for the Progressive Party. Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir, the parliamentary party chairperson of the Independence Party, added that it was “a fundamental principle” that government ministers have no direct involvement with the running of the media.

For his part, the Prime Minister railed against the suggestion on Facebook, accusing opposition MPs of using his blackmail “for political purposes”. He omitted to mention Ragnheiður, but said the opposition was attempting to “introduce a new kind of banality into Icelandic politics”, and that their suggestion his possible involvement in the purchase of DV be investigated for the sake of improving the political state is “nothing more than a contradiction”.

Apart from the political connection between Sigmundur Davíð and Björn Ingi, it also later came to light that a 60 million ISK overdraft was made from MP Bank to the company Vefpressan, which owns Pressan, in early 2013. The director of MP Bank is Sigurður Atli Jónsson, who is married to the Prime Minister’s sister. MP Bank’s Director of Asset Management, Sigurður Hannesson, was also one of the Prime Minister’s closest economic advisors.

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