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Bildt: Icesave deal key to Iceland IMF money

AFP/The Local · 12 Mar 2010, 07:31

Published: 12 Mar 2010 07:31 GMT+01:00

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"Icesave is the key" to getting more money from the International Monetary

Fund, which has so far given Iceland $1.1 billion out of a $2.1 billion loan, Carl Bildt said after a conference of minsters in Copenhagen.

The Nordic foreign ministers raised the pressure on Icelanders, who voted in a referendum last week to reject a a deal to repay Britain and the Netherlands billions of euros for losses from the collapse of online bank Icesave.

Iceland's opposition supported a 'no' vote in the referendum, but the government has said that negotiations will continue.

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"Our message is that we want to help Iceland but on condition... that there is parliamentary support for the government in Reykjavik on Icesave," Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen told reporters after talks in Copenhagen.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:17 March 12, 2010 by Glempa
Who is really to blame for this? I have great sympathy for the Icelandic people, if they are paying the price for the bankers incompetence.

In UK there were many Councils (kommuns) who invested their money in Icesave because the FSA (Financial Service Authority) had given Icesave a good credit rating. This credit rating is done to prevent precisely what did happen - to prevent people losing their money with unsafe banks! The FSA later admitted this advice was outdated, so surely the UK government must take some blame!

Also if a Swedish bank goes bankrupt, the government will only savers for a limited amount (about SEK 300k, I think), so can't the Icelanders claim limited liability as well?
08:36 March 12, 2010 by joe5451
That is the limited liability amount!
09:30 March 12, 2010 by CarlBlack
The payment should really be only the limited liability amount, however many of these UK and Netherlands investments come from councils and companies as mentioned. In these countries they are excluded from insurance scheme, since they were considered (wrongly) as capable of evaluating the risks, in contrast to private investors.

Furthermore the EEA treaty signed by Iceland obliges Iceland to set up insurance scheme for up to 20,000 Euro and create a fund for that, but does not oblige Iceland to refund money if there is not enough money in the fund.

Since The Local provides very little facts as usual, only translates politicians statements, I recommend to look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icesave_dispute
09:47 March 12, 2010 by planethero
If you send your money overseas and it goes wrong, tough luck.

What has this got to do with sheep farmers in Iceland if a bank goes wrong. You made a poor investment choice, boo hoo.
10:52 March 12, 2010 by McChatter

The money was not sent overseas. Icesave operated in the countries involved.

CarlBlack is right.

The Local should provide more and better information and that would save us some silly mails - no insult intended.

For the record, I didn't save with Icesave. I couldn't believe they could earn me so much from a mere savings account. The Icelanders just got too greedy. There were also a lot of takeovers in 2008/2009 involving Iceland businessmen. I was asking myself: where did they get the money? Now we know!
11:17 March 12, 2010 by Audrian
The civil society of Iceland has nothing to do with the financial melt down and the mountain of debt associated with it. The culprits are local bankers and international bankers. It is a pity that the heart of the Swedish elite is with the bankers. The big criminals are escaping the heavy hand of justice.
13:03 March 12, 2010 by Nemesis
Actually, if discussing this the Local, needs to avoid its usual idiotic nonsense and actually cover it in depth.

Lack of depth in articles has led to people picking bits of this up out of context and running with it.

Carlblack mentioned the wikipedia article. It is a good starting point.

However I would go further and state that the minimum that should be covered when mentioning this is to cover the entire crisis that occurred such as,


To many have been selective about this.

All the facts need to be presented, constantly to reduce the polarisation that has occurred.

The polarisation of this issue suits only the criminals who have walked away from this leaving the ordinary Icelandic people, various governments and investors to pick up the pieces and blame each other.

Please for the sake of clarity and the usual race to the bottom journalism in the Local, on at least this issue cover all the facts in depth, as it has the potential to get very ugly in the future and most likely will.

Responsible journalism costs nothing, but does gain respect.
13:14 March 12, 2010 by rba
One fact, and one opinion:

Fact: Even countries which defaulted on their debts in the worst possible ways are today able to borrow money from investors. So when a politician claims that this deal is crucial for Iceland to be able to borrow, it's BS.

In my opinion: The Icelandic people shouldn't pay.
17:14 March 12, 2010 by ppk
All this is a "coup" (thanks Brown & Cie!) to force Iceland to give up the country in a way to transform it in a mega aluminium plant.

Every other Scandinavian country should stand up beside Iceland!

Those saying that Icelandic people were too greedy certainly doe's not speak by experience, only by what they could read in mainstream medias speaking for the greedy City's bankers.
10:46 March 13, 2010 by skane refugee
Elected Icelandic politicians (president and current opposition), bankers, regulators, auditors and assorted Icelandic businessmen effectively ran their country/economy like a leveraged hedge fund for many years

This was a highly risky bet that would pay off big while global asset prices were rising but would quickly turn to disastrous losses (amplified by leverage) in the event that global asset prices stopped rising

They took this gamble knowingly or were unbelievably incompetent/naive in the ways of international finance.

While global asset prices rose, every single Icelander (man, woman and child) benefited enormously from the many good years for the Icelandic 'hedge fund' pre the September/October 2008 collapse via dramatic increases in government tax revenues to pay for better health and education, much more generous welfare, much higher wages across the economy, money to pay foreign guest workers to do the jobs that Icelanders would rather not do etc etc (the list is endless)

Either you take the view that the Icelandic movers and shakers were clever and knew that they could reap the rich dividends during the good years for their people and pass on virtually all of their (in retrospect inevitable) losses to trusting foreigners when the game finally stopped (setting aside the morality issues associated with scamming their targeted foreign victims) ...

... or you take the view that they were actually stupid and way out of their depth, and were genuinely surprised when the whole scheme ended in tears.

If you dismiss the nonsense about 'shared regulatory failure' and 'savers themselves being to blame' etc which stands up to no scrutiny whatsoever ... it distils to the central question as to were Icelanders clever and morally bankrupt or stupid and criminally negligent?

This story is only just starting to be written.

Interesting morality tale worthy of a saga ;o)
12:47 March 13, 2010 by NickM
Agree witjh RBA above.

Indebted countries - which virtually includes all countries nowadays - continue to borrow as much as they want. The IMF is a trojan horse to destroy public services and social systems - Iceland would be better off without their money thanks Mr "the Armenian genocide vote was a mistake" Bildt.
14:22 March 14, 2010 by diegoveggie
icelandic people love enjoying the good life, but are not willing to pay up when things go badly.. not cool
18:59 March 14, 2010 by rba
diegoveggie you're talking as if the Icelandic people were the ones who stole all the money...
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