From Iceland — Kári Stefánsson Calls For PM's Resignation, Citing "Treason"

Kári Stefánsson Calls For PM’s Resignation, Citing “Treason”

Published March 29, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Magnús Andersen

DeCODE CEO Kári Stefánsson has called for Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson to resign, in no uncertain terms.

In an open letter he wrote to the Prime Minister in Morgunblaðið, Kári took the gloves off in not only calling for Sigmundur’s resignation, but also in accusing him of insider trading and possibly treason.

Kári bases his accusations on two main points. First of all, he argues that fighting against bank claimants, while at the same time having a wife who has money in a company that is a claimant against the Icelandic banks to the tune of about half a billion ISK, is clearly a conflict of interest.

“Leaders who are negotiating on behalf of the nation, but have an individual interest with those he is negotiating with and against the nation is unfit to do his job,” Kári writes. “If he keeps it a secret, it can lead to the argument that he is guilty of treason.”

Kári also argues that the Prime Minister might have insight into the future value of the claimant’s money, which he says is tantamount to insider trading, comparable to the case of former Ministry of Finance manager Baldur Guðlaugsson, who was found guilty of insider trading in 2011.

At the time of this writing, a petition calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation has reached close to 9,500 signatures – up from 6,000 barely 24 hours ago.

As reported, the Prime Minister has been under considerable fire – mostly from the opposition but also reportedly from within the Independence Party as well – after Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, the wife of Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, made a post to Facebook revealing that she has been keeping an undisclosed amount of family inheritance money in a company called Wintris Inc. This money is kept in the British Virgin Islands, a popular tax haven, but Anna contends that the Icelandic tax office is well aware of this money, and everything is completely legal and above board.

However, Wintris Inc. is also a claimant against Landsbanki Íslands, Glitnir and Kaupthing to the tune of about half a billion ISK. Furthermore, Kjarninn has repeatedly asked for information regarding assets owned by government officials or members of their family that are being kept overseas, to no avail.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly advocated for the strength of the indexed Icelandic króna and the importance of keeping assets within the country. In addition, he has also repeatedly described bank claimants as “vultures” who are potentially damaging to the Icelandic economy.

Sigmundur has been on the defensive since the news broke, denying interviews with numerous media outlets. He has said he was “under no ethical obligation” to inform parliament of the financial activities of his wife, despite said activities being in apparent complete contradiction with his own economic policies.

Parliament is currently on Easter holiday, and so whether a no confidence proposal will go forward still remains to be seen.

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