In a lengthy Facebook post made just two hours ago, Iceland’s Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has responded to news that broke this morning that he had sold his remaining assets in a Glitnir bank fund called “Sjóður 9” only hours before the financial crash of Iceland on October 6, 2008.
While journalists working on this story could find nothing illegal about what Bjarni did, the timing of these financial dealings, brought to light by leaked documents made available to Stundin and Reykjavík Media for the Guardian, could indicate that Bjarni was privy to information that few others were. This would mean insider trading was at play.
Bjarni, in his new Facebook post, denies trading on any insider information, saying that the unstable condition of the Icelandic banks had been public knowledge for most of 2008. A report in February of that year prompted him and former Independence Party parliamentary leader Illugi Gunnarsson to meet with numerous financial specialists to further elaborate on the banks’ situation.
Bjarni also says that he did not sell his holdings on October 6. Rather, he put in an order for the sale on October 2, with the sale itself scheduled to go through some two to three business days from the order.
Furthermore, Bjarni contends that it had always been his intention to cut any ties with the financial world before shifting his focus to political leadership.
“Everything that happened in the wake of the fall of the banks has been investigated,” Bjarni writes in part. “No questions have ever been raised about my business dealings. I have never been accused, by anyone other than certain journalists and political opponents, of having committed any wrongdoing.”