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Banker Jail Sentences: Another Lesson For The World From Iceland

Tyler Durden's picture


Instead of kicking the can and maintaining the zombie nation, Iceland ripped its over-levered bank-based-debacle band-aid off and has slowly but surely emerged from its own crisis (notwithstanding capital controls and pain for many) unlike the rest of the Western world which has reverted to the mean of ignorance and status quo. Now, however, The Guardian reports Iceland has one more lesson to teach the world - an Icelandic court has sentenced four former Kaupthing bankers to jail for market abuses.


Via The Guardian,

An Icelandic court has sentenced four former Kaupthing bankers to jail for market abuses related to a large stake taken in the bank by a Qatari sheikh just before it went under in late 2008.


Weeks before the country's top three banks collapsed under huge debts as the global credit crunch struck, Kaupthing announced that Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani had bought 5 of its shares in a confidence-boosting move.


A parliamentary commission later said the shares had been bought with a loan from Kaupthing itself.


On Thursday, a Reykjavik district court sentenced Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, Kaupthing's former chief executive, to five and a half years in prison while former chairman Sigurdur Einarsson received a five-year sentence.


Magnus Gudmundsson, former chief executive of Kaupthing Luxembourg, was given a three-year sentence and Olafur Olafsson – the bank's second largest shareholder at the time – received three and a half years.


In what is by far the largest case brought by Iceland's special prosecutor against former employees of Iceland's failed banks, it was argued that the market had been deceived by information indicating that financing was coming directly from Al Thani's own funds.

Instead of fining the banks (in nothing more than a cost-of-doing-business line item), there are real consequences for the actors involved...


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Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:19 | Link to Comment koan
koan's picture

Here's hoping they are in general population and not protective.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:19 | Link to Comment Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Hope its an outdoor prison.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:23 | Link to Comment SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

super fun activity:

organize the list into a small number of categories

such as: (A) point of the spear and (B) controlled opposition

(this "writing prompt" will be featured in future offerings of standardized writing tests for college entrance)



Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:26 | Link to Comment The Juggernaut
The Juggernaut's picture

Is this the cue for the US Gov't to declare Iceland a terrorist state?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:26 | Link to Comment markelshark
markelshark's picture

Where is the zerohedge coverage of the "affluenza" case? Rich kid gets off of killing four while drunk because, wait for it, he's too rich to know about consequences! You can't make this stuff up:

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:38 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

"The controversial decision, as well as backlash over a defense strategy that included testimony that 16-year-old Ethan Couch suffered from "affluenza" -- an upbringing so privileged that he was unable to discern right from wrong  -- has led to significant criticism from the public."

I suppose the reverse would work as well.

" upbringing so underprivileged that he was unable to discern right from wrong..." already has ;-)

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:50 | Link to Comment SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

"an upbringing so privileged that he was unable to discern right from wrong"

could be genetic

in which case, only people with a morality gene will be convicted and jailed

"morality gene" -- what a laff

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:56 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

But then I guess people with the morality gene wouldn't commit the crime in the first place, right? Unless it was 'switched off' in which case they'd be just as helpless as those who didn't have it in the first place.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:47 | Link to Comment Tom_333
Tom_333's picture

A good argument for assigning guilt and punishments in court of law per midle class standards.Throw the bums in jail for fifty years...or even capitol punishment in a balanced way on both sides of the class spectrum.

Too Big to Fail...wait we ´ve got a little surprise for do you like those hand irons...and the sentencing won´t really be impressed by the fancy lawyers you have on your payroll. You will get the needle , no matter what.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:51 | Link to Comment gallistic
gallistic's picture

Iceland has been impressive in their actions for several years now.

Say what you will about Iran, but I also like the way they handle banksters...

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:54 | Link to Comment Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

I bet they have a low recidivism rate.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:42 | Link to Comment XitSam
XitSam's picture

Obama can use that excuse now that it is an allowed defense. 

Air strike kills 15 civilians in Yemen by mistake

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:20 | Link to Comment astoriajoe
astoriajoe's picture

Fresh Fish!

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:14 | Link to Comment NIHILIST CIPHER

Here's hoping a big black guy named Bubba uses them as his BITCH every damn day (and night). Bravo Iceland for having the balls to do what we won't do. I recently posted that NOTHING will be done about our situation here in Amerika until we go after these criminals. Off with their heads would be even better.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:45 | Link to Comment Mine Is Bigger
Mine Is Bigger's picture

It's unfortunate these convicted bankers probably won't suffer as much as they should.  It's Iceland.  So, the living standard of prison inmates is probably higher than that of average working people in most countries.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:19 | Link to Comment overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

five years? but I hope they serve every damn day, now to be first: free corzine.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:27 | Link to Comment i-dog
i-dog's picture

Free Francis Sawyer!

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:53 | Link to Comment dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

free them all


bank guy in brussels


Mr Lennon Hendrix


and francis_saywer

and anyone else I may have missed

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:57 | Link to Comment fuu
fuu's picture


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:20 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture



Fri, 12/13/2013 - 17:34 | Link to Comment Scarlett
Scarlett's picture


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 22:49 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

1/3 of a billion useful idiots

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 22:52 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

1/10 of 1/3 of a billion slightly more nothern, servile and mentally kidnapped idiots.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 23:11 | Link to Comment GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

jingo bells jingo bells jingo all da way

oh how easy it is to rile

some people anyday,


Don't fret, pal. I'd miss you too buddy; right here.



Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:29 | Link to Comment The Tilden Flash
The Tilden Flash's picture

Did Compassionate Fascist get banned or did he succomb to his health issues?


The comment section has been a lot easier to scan since he stopped posting.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:56 | Link to Comment Pseudo Anonym
Pseudo Anonym's picture

no! and no!  keep them all banned.  they were infecting zerohedge with the truth.  that is not allowed.  this is not a fight club.  if you want fight club, go to another site.  here on zerohedge, only articles and  comments relevant to kabuki theater are allowed.  no truth shall infect the minds of posters here.  that might offend a certain unnamed and god's chosen tribe; and abe foxman's agents.  go away.  this is ABC Media, LTD incorporated in england and you and francis-like posters are not allowed to offend and criticize the esteemed shareholders of this fine site and abc media ltd.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:41 | Link to Comment Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Pseudo, Tyler will want to sell the site at some stage.  If he allows the people you refer to be offended the sale will be fooooooked.  Can't say I blame him.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:05 | Link to Comment Pseudo Anonym
Pseudo Anonym's picture

first you sell your soul.  and then you're allowed to sell your business. for judefetzen.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:59 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

Bank Guy in Brussels is gone now too?

He did get a bit spammy when it came to corruption of the judiciary in the US, but his other stuff was interesting. Sad loss to the community...

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 22:53 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Really?  Are you sure?

That's a shame.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:27 | Link to Comment y3maxx
y3maxx's picture

..and there are "Pitchfork Protests" now spreading across Italy.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:54 | Link to Comment S5936
S5936's picture

RE: pitchforks, yep I believe they will be the weapon of choice when the SHTF. Gonna take'em out close and personnel .

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:21 | Link to Comment thatthingcanfly
thatthingcanfly's picture

If you like your Qatari sheikh, you can keep your Qatari sheikh.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:20 | Link to Comment Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Do they keep the jail cells warm in Iceland?


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:23 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

here they get a bone-us

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:26 | Link to Comment The man with po...
The man with pointy horns's picture

Hang the motherfuckers! That'll teach 'em!

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:25 | Link to Comment alfred b.
alfred b.'s picture


Ought to be served in 'solitary confinement' know, for reflection.


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:45 | Link to Comment nickels
nickels's picture

Kim Jong-Un for US Bank Examiner!

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:26 | Link to Comment Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Wow, can you imagine the breathless superlatives he'd give out for Jamie Dimon before his execution? Run that baby back and forth on the korean to english translator, and that stuff would be solid gold!

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:30 | Link to Comment Sleepless Knight
Sleepless Knight's picture

If I stole a billion dollars, I would'nt mind being held in a minimum security prison for 5 years. Have you ever heard of them paying back ALL if any of what they stole?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:30 | Link to Comment HamRove
HamRove's picture

One wonders what the immigration to Iceland is like. Cold? yes. Isolated? sure.  But when it comes to handing out financial Justice, I don't see many other places worth going to. God bless Iceland for showing us the way.....

And for Bjork.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:35 | Link to Comment Inthemix96
Inthemix96's picture

If they serve the full five years, and thats a big if, when they come out, strip them all their ill gotten gains, turf them out on the streets and make sure that for the rest of their naturals, they are never allowed near finance, or money services ever again.

Let them live a life where their only form of making money is reliant on their labour skills set and 'Sheer Talent'.

My money is on them all being dead in six months after that.

Pieces of fucking piss bucket scum.


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:47 | Link to Comment Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

There is no need to insult piss bucket scum here... What has piss bucket scum ever done to you?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:02 | Link to Comment Paper CRUSHer
Paper CRUSHer's picture

Hey blood,ya left out the ol' five letter word at the bottom of your comments that we're all accustomed to,so without further ado...

Gimme a 'c'........C

Gimme a 'u'........U

Gimme an 'n'......N

Gimme a 't'........T

Gimme a 's'.......S


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:29 | Link to Comment Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Actually, I think we need to send this guy after them:


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:50 | Link to Comment Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Holding somebody accountable. Now there is something you don't see every day...... unless you're some poor kid trying to earn a few bucks selling lemonade without a permit. For them it's the full force of the state coming down on these criminal terrorists.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:59 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

pah, you libertarians, you want just ANYONE being able to make a drink from lemons?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:43 | Link to Comment LukeWorm
LukeWorm's picture

Holding someone accountable? No, not in the US of A. Especially not if you are rich:

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:41 | Link to Comment mess nonster
Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:24 | Link to Comment Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

Are you kidding?  That would be hell.  They are expected to work on that farm.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:01 | Link to Comment Fíréan
Fíréan's picture

A prison with no bars or fences ?  So where does a con get pissed on a saturday night or sell off his ill gotten produce  ?


The nicest jail to go to is Kvíabryggja, the jail by the river in the above photo. It is a minimum (maybe zero) security prison used for those who are not considered a flight risk (no bars or fences)

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:42 | Link to Comment BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Good for Iceland


FUCK the bankers.


And a great BIG fuck you to the Bilderboogers, Rockefellers and Rothchilds, and all other elitist trillionaire pricks too, on this Holy Holiday Season.


Fuck you, you cunts! Happy Fucking Holidays, and may all your dreams become nightmares......

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:43 | Link to Comment madcows
madcows's picture

Well at least there is integrity in one last nation.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:45 | Link to Comment deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

I believe if you are a blonde lover then Iceland may be just the place for you.  If the redhead wife reads this before I post it I may be moving there myself.   I think they keep pretty much everything there warm with geothermal so the ex bankers will at least be warm.  All for them being in general population though.  Your skill set should include some commercial fishing related skills if you plan on going.  

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:57 | Link to Comment Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Iceland is no longer the homogenous nation it was.  The country hasn't escaped NWO-style enrichment and now boasts, if you can get your mind around such a phenomenon 'a thriving African community'.  Which will grow and grwow and GROW.

Gonna be needing those jails.


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:49 | Link to Comment JailBank
JailBank's picture

You can't put bankers in jail. They are doing God's work. Now what is God going to have to do this shit on his own?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:52 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Execution would be more appropriate.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:54 | Link to Comment virgilcaine
virgilcaine's picture

Their day is coming.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:55 | Link to Comment PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Politicians are bad, bankers are worse, but this is the crux. As these events progress and the injustice mounts I can't help but think one thing...

We need Batman.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:59 | Link to Comment 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Here they get high political office, even the bootlickers and lobbyists.


Chris Christie was Bernie Madoff's lobbyist... look it up.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:05 | Link to Comment Arbysauce
Arbysauce's picture

Deceptive PR is the worst thing they could be charged with?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:08 | Link to Comment Barry McBear
Barry McBear's picture

But how will all the Icelandic small businesses get access to capital with these 4 vital bankers in jail?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:18 | Link to Comment Orwell was right
Orwell was right's picture

Finally...a story that I actually enjoyed reading.    True punishment is long overdue....and while we will most likely never see this happen in the's nice to know that common sense and justice is not totally dead everywhere.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:22 | Link to Comment swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Icelanders are unique.  There's only about 320,000 of them on a rocky, barren, volcanic island.  By now they're all somewhat related to each other.  Genetic studies show that the original men of Iceland were Norse, but the original women were Gaelic.  Every one is them is literate.  They have the most bookstores per capita in the world, and about 10% of all Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime.  They eat the worst food imaginable.  They have nearly unlimited electricity and heat.

There was an area near where I grew up where there were a lot of Icelanders.  They were not to be taken lightly.  They were mostly farmers who liked to do weird metal welding sculptures out of their broken farm tools, and have drunken all-night-long poetry readings of stuff they themselves had written, including songs.  Lots of it with rather extreme dark Nordic subtexts, like people going crazy in poetic fashion and killing their families according to some ancient doom; stuff like that.  Man, they could and did drink.

So it really doesn't surprise me that Icelanders would do this.  EU bankster threats to cut them off and shun them wouldn't bother them too much; they eat "hakarl" and "svio."  Don't Google them if you've eaten recently.  I wish in this matter that we would learn from the example set by Iceland.  But remember, this place was settled by people too anti-social to be Vikings.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:25 | Link to Comment swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Oh, and unbelievably hot chicks.  Soul-searingly, terrifyingly crazy chicks.  But oh my goodness hot.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:42 | Link to Comment MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Yes and yes.  Going out in Reykjavík in the early 00s at night was a lot of fun especially with reasonable flights at various times of the year out of Logan or JFK on Iceland Air or Aer Lingus. 

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:38 | Link to Comment fencejumper
fencejumper's picture

"There was an area near where I grew up where there were a lot of Icelanders."

swmnguy, I am curious where that was?

Though I have never lived there, or even visited for more than a few hrs btwn flights, I am proud of a little bit of Icelandic blood - especially with this bankster news. Thanks for info/insights.


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 22:22 | Link to Comment NeedtoSecede
NeedtoSecede's picture

+1000 for your last sentence swmnguy.  "...too anti-social to be Vikings."

Classic, and it is gems like this that keep me coming back to ZH.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:27 | Link to Comment Cheyenne
Cheyenne's picture

These aren't Iceland's first criminal convictions of high-ranking bank execs... ("Two former executives at an Icelandic bank which collapsed in the 2008 financial meltdown were sentenced to jail on Friday for fraud")...

...and they won't be the last if February 2012 numbers are any indication... ("more than 200, including the former chief executives at the three biggest banks, face criminal charges.")

Scaling those numbers to the U.S.-Iceland 1000-1 population (and GDP) ratio would mean we're about 200,000 high-level indictments short of lawful republic. That compares with 100,000 high-level jail sentences which you'd expect from the scale of the $150 billion S&L scandal, which saw 1000+ elite bankers imprisoned on crisis losses roughly 1/100th the size seen in the 2008 meltdown.

And by the way, Iceland cut its unemployment rate in half without fraudulently rigging its data, too. Imagine that.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:44 | Link to Comment FrustratedLogician
FrustratedLogician's picture


Not everything is rosy. Iceland revolution was boosted by media and enthusiastic people. They are not completely free. I wonder whether any of these bankers will serve full sentences. I would just cut their heads off because I cannot spend taxpayers money for such scum of humanity.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:53 | Link to Comment Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Bend over, Bubba wants to make a deposit....

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:10 | Link to Comment pupdog1
pupdog1's picture

I think that's Bubbasson

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:53 | Link to Comment Mario55
Mario55's picture

The bankers phobia is blinding everybody. Iceland has NOT emerged. The country is still drowning in debts, some with the Treasury and a lot with the Central Bank. The country has imposed capital control.

The politicians are sending to jail their former allies, the bankers, to save their skin. But they are no better and in no way an example to be followed. 

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:23 | Link to Comment Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Do they still have capital controls or have they lifted them? I think I remember reading not too long ago that they were planning to lift them. 

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:14 | Link to Comment pupdog1
pupdog1's picture

Goldman didn't want Iceland.

It's just too effin' cold, and there aren't enough zeros.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:30 | Link to Comment no more banksters
no more banksters's picture

There are lots of geothermal energy sources however and some took advantage of the banking crisis to steal them from the state

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:28 | Link to Comment no more banksters
no more banksters's picture

Meanwhile in Greece:

"The Greek banks have been bailed out with billions exceeding 90% of country's GDP since 2008. When citizens suffer from heavy taxes, unemployment strikes the Greek society, Greek economy faces deep recession and Greeks sink in poverty, it appears that Greek governments do have money, but only for the banks. Billions were given in bailouts, but no one knows where the money went and how they were exploited. The only thing that is certain is that they didn't go where they should go: to the real economy."

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