From Iceland — Man Fights The Bank And Wins

Man Fights The Bank And Wins

Published February 23, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

A man who claims his bank unfairly advised him against selling stock in the bank just before the crash has won in Reykjavík District Court.

MBL reports that the man had been advised by the bank to take out an overdraft in yen – 30 million of them. In the summer of 2008, Landsbanki made a margin call on the man’s debt and asked him to pay up. He wanted to sell his shares in Landsbanki and pay off the debt, but the bank had advised him against it. In the months that followed, the economic crash plunged the man into even greater debt, which he argues was the result of the advice and insistence of Landsbanki.

In the court case, the man demanded that his recorded phone calls with Landsbanki be presented, which the banks did not provide. He argued that the banks sought to defend their own interests; not his, and deliberately put effort into making sure he did not sell the shares he had in the bank.

Ultimately, the court sided with the man. The court argued that he would have never taken out an overdraft in yen, as the bank advised, and that it is a matter of public record that at this time, Landsbanki was actively trying to prevent their stock’s value from falling. They never asked if the man in question was doing any business in yen or had any holdings bought in yen. The bank had, in the court’s opinion, simply defending its own interests at his great expense.

As such, the man has been cleared of his debt to Landsbanki. The ruling may be precedent-setting for other indebted Icelanders, although it is unknown if similar lawsuits are currently filed in the court system.

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