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Íslandsbanki sale: continuing debates

30.11.2022 - 15:06
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Alþingi
Debates about the sale of government shares of formerly state-owned Íslandsbanki in March are continuing.

PM: "unfortunate" Minister’s father on buyers’ list
Discussions are currently evolving around the father of Iceland’s Minister of Finance and Economics buying shares. The issue was being adressed at an open meeting of Alþingi's Committee of Constitution and Control on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir called it "unfortunate" Bjarni Benediktsson’s (Minister of Finance and Economy, fjármála- og efnahagsráðherra) father was among the listed buyers of the government's Íslandsbanki shares. She did not, however, consider it the minister's job to look over a list of prospective buyers beforehand.

Bjarni has already been attending a committee meeting on the matter and denied knowing about his father, Benedikt Sveinsson, being on the buyers’ list.

Little trust in government handling the sale well
According to a survey of polling institute Maskina, most Icelanders do not trust their government in regards to handling the sale of the rest of Íslandsbank well: almost two thirds (63 percent) have a negative view on that matter, only 16 percent trust the government to handle it well.

Maskina's survey followed a report of the Icelandic National Audit Office INAO (Ríkisendurskoðun), which reviewed the bank sale on a request by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. The main focus was on the question of whether the sale of the government's 22.5 percent share was according to law.

INAO report shows shortcomings
The report concluded the sale in March 2022 had shortcomings in regards to preparation and execution, both of which "[…] should have been done better."

Furthermore, it criticises a lack of transparency in documents submitted by the Norwegian Banking administration and the Ministry of Finance and Economy to Althingi as they were "not suitable for drawing a clear picture of the arrangement of the sale process".

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