So we all know the meme:
Of course, to start with, that quote is fake. And the vast majority of the bankers who caused the crisis got off scott free. And the only ones who were convicted were convicted for Enron-type stuff, for in Iceland — just like in the US — it’s perfectly legal to destroy the world economy to line your pockets. And the guy in the picture, president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, was the bankers’ best friend before it became unpopular — he even called Björgólfur Thor (one of the biggest of the banksters — no punishment) a “role model” that Icelanders should emulate. And it turns out, as we see in the Panama Papers, that much of our current government is secretly bank creditors, and their highly suspicious attempts to divert large sums of money to the creditors were diverting money to themselves.
But hey — Iceland got at least some of the worst, right? The most famous (pictured above) being the “Kaupþing 4”, convicted in the al-Thani issue. This was a case where those convicted plotted with Sheikh al-Thani to create a worthless financial product but market it as being valuable by having al-Thani make a huge investment in it. But they structured it suchly — through a series of shell companies and falsified documents — that al-Thani couldn’t lose, that he’d profit even when the product inevitably went under.
But hey, they got them! Yeay!
Well, not so “Yeay”.
First off, meet the place where they’ve been serving their sentence: Kvíabryggja open prison:
A place so nice that a Dutch convict requested permission to keep living there after his sentence expired. No fences. No cells. Both men and women live there in… let’s just say that conditions aren’t “lacking”:
They shouldn't have gotten in, but hey, they’re well connected VIPs, so who cares? Last week they went out for ice cream with chocolate dip. A trip that even Kvíabryggja prisoners generally wouldn’t be approved for.
And now, they're being freed.
Former Kaupthing Chairperson of the Board Sigurður Einarsson, former Kaupthing Luxembourg CEO Magnús Guðmundsson and former 10% owner of Kaupthing Ólafur Ólafsson will all be released from Kvíabryggja prison today, Stundin reports, on account of a change to the law. They will instead move to a halfway house, Vernd, where they will have to return every night but will otherwise be free. A member of parliament has criticised the legislation is being “handcrafted” for these bankers.
Their early release is due to a change to the law on maximum penalties. While the law previously granted prisoners 2.5 days of “electronic surveillance” for every month served, the change increased that time to 5 days. According to Stundin’s sources, it was Independence Party MP Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir who fought for the changes to be made, which were passed on March 16.
So if you see someone sharing that “Iceland jailed its bankers!” tripe… please point them to this. Seriously, it’s grown so tiring that Icelanders have been making fun of people who believe that Iceland is some sort of anticapitalist paradise:
The reality is, we’re run by a bunch of looters, and most of them get away scott-free with what they do.