From Iceland — Vítalía Lazareva, Arnar Grant Sued By Prominent Icelandic Businessmen For Attempted Extortion

Vítalía Lazareva, Arnar Grant Sued By Prominent Icelandic Businessmen For Attempted Extortion

Published June 28, 2022

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Vítalía Lazareva and Arnar Grant have been sued by district prosecutors for attempted extortion, threats, and invasion of privacy following an incident that happened at a holiday home in October 2020, according to Fréttablaðið.

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The complainants are Ari Edwald, the CEO of the company Ísey, Hreggviður Jónsson, the chair of Veritas Capital, and Þórður Már Jóhannesson, the chairman of the board of Festi, the fourth largest company in Iceland.

Vítalía published a story on Instagram a year after the night in question stating she had been sexually abused in a hot tub. She published the names of Ari, Hreggvið, Þórður Már, and Arnar Grant, who was her partner at the time. Just before this, she messaged the individuals that she intended to seek redress because of the incidents.

Arnar, though he was among those Vítalía accused, started supporting her story.

In November, Vítalía allegedly contacted the men’s business partners and families about the case, saying she intended to report them all to the police. Envelopes allegedly began to arrive in the mail in December, both to the family members of the men and their colleagues. The envelopes were reportedly addressed to certain recipients with red ink and included screenshots of Vítalía’s post, along with a note with the words: “Who paid millions for the silence?” and “Who owned the house with the hot tub?”

The complainants approached a lawyer to contact Vítalía on their behalf. He met with her three times, and Arnar was present in two of the meetings as her advisor. The lawyer allegedly told the trio that 50 million ISK would keep Vítalía and Arnar quiet. He later stated that the payment should be three times that amount, a total of 150 million ISK “after taxes.”

The trio’s complaint states that Vítalía’s phone calls, messages, and the anonymous letters show intent to extort money. She made repeated threats to report them to the police, but the National Commissioner of Police said no charges of sexual offenses have been filed against them. For her part, Vítalía says she filed charged last March.

An interview with Vítalía on the radio show Eigin Konur aired in January. It largely deals with her relationship with Arnar, but there are also references to events at the holiday home in 2020.

Hreggviður resigned as chairman of Veritas, and Þórður resigned from Festi’s board. Ari was fired from Ísey. Arnar Grant went on leave from his job at World Class where he was a prominent trainer.

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