First They Jailed the Bankers, Now Every Icelander to Get Paid in Bank Sale

October 29, 2015   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
October 29, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Iceland — First, Iceland jailed its crooked bankers for their direct involvement in the financial crisis of 2008. Now, every Icelander will receive a payout for the sale of one of its three largest banks, Íslandsbanki.

If Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has his way — and he likely will — Icelanders will be paid kr 30,000 after the government takes over ownership of the bank. Íslandsbanki would be second of the three largest banks under State proprietorship.

“I am saying that the government take some decided portion, 5%, and simply hand it over to the people of this country,” he stated.

Because Icelanders took control of their government, they effectively own the banks. Benediktsson believes this will bring foreign capital into the country and ultimately fuel the economy — which, incidentally, remains the only European nation to recover fully from the 2008 crisis. Iceland even managed to pay its outstanding debt to the IMF in full — in advance of the due date.

Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Budget Committee vice chairperson, explained the move would facilitate the lifting of capital controls, though he wasn’t convinced State ownership would be the ideal solution. Former Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon sided with Þórðarson, telling a radio show, “we shouldn’t lose the banks to the hands of fools” and that Iceland would benefit from a shift in focus to separate “commercial banking from investment banking.”

Plans haven’t yet been firmly set for when the takeover and subsequent payments to every person in the country will occur, but Iceland’s revolutionary approach to dealing with the international financial meltdown of 2008 certainly deserves every bit of the attention it’s garnered.

Iceland recently jailed its 26th banker — with 74 years of prison time amongst them — for causing the financial chaos. Meanwhile, U.S. banking criminals were rewarded for their fraud and market manipulation with an enormous bailout at the taxpayer’s expense.


This article (First They Jailed the Bankers, Now Every Icelander to Get Paid in Bank Sale) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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54 Comments

  1. It's $233, in case you were wondering. Not a lot, but better than zip.

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  4. And following the payment of those 30.000 ISK to the general population, then the guys in charge of the government, the finance minister and prime minister in particular, will sell the remainder of the bank to their friends and buddies, in order for them to gain as much as possible, in as short a time as possible. The classic mafia financing ploy.

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  5. It won't get any better. The current regime will surely drive you bonkers as well with similar crap. I decided to move out in 2013 and got out in 2014. Not planning a return until the general population wisens up and stops electing idiots into office. Unfortunately memories are short and people seem to be financial masochists in Iceland

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  6. Maybe. But it would be politically a really stupid move. Iceland has an advantage in being quite a small country; it's a lot harder to hide the who-struck-John when everyone is like three degrees from knowing everyone else.

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  7. Cathy Kroohs For some reason it doesn't seem to make any difference in Iceland. Politicians have been crooked and financially helpful to their friends for a very long time and for all they care, the general public can just eat sh*t and die, as long as they pay and shut up.

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  8. Yes. A year will always be the same amount of time, no matter where you are. It's because a year is defined as the time it takes for the Earth to take a lap around the Sun, and that obviously doesn't change depending on your location.

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  9. Also better in the hands of it's people than just a small very wealthy group of people

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  10. Mark Stuart Gillette I was just thinking the same after reading this article. This society is barbaric at times, where as Iceland seems to be fair for all, well that's my outside knowledge of it

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  11. if the bank is in givernment hands now and selling it to pay the people 30,000 each ? then who ever buys it owns the bank ???? this is retarded thinking , each icelandic indiviual should be given shares and investment with in the country for future prosperity

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  12. American senator takes $3.5 million in hush money and only gets 3 months in jail..

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  13. Oscar Öberg Apparently women are from Venus and men are from Mars … this would obviously change depending on your location. So a year for a woman would take less time than for a man!

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  14. All smoke and mirrors. Don't believe the hype kids. It equals less than $250. American dollars. Now listen closely- they will make you believe they are "for the little guy", right before they rip you off, because you are a sucker. Do some research, then delete your vomit inducing, feel good posts!

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  15. Notice link saying Icelanders paid off the $2bn IMF bailout. Thats $7,000 per person! Am i missing something?

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  16. Tomas Thrainsson I heard Pirate Party gaining. Is that wising up? Unless you set me straight, I'll join Mark to be where at least something positive happened. The sentiment you both expressed applies equally here in Canada.

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  17. At least they gave it back. People quibbling about the amount miss the point entirely.

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  18. I have felt Iceland will be sort of the last escape place but they should mybe purchase some land in a warmer climate because given their location, dramatic changes could hit them hard. tarotworldtour.wordpress.com

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  19. Come. On. Would you please stop perpetuating the myth that any bankers were jailed. A paltry few got slaps on the wrists. The rest remain the same leeches as before.

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  20. Then what's the real story? Why is this not being called out? What are the bastards getting away with now?

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  21. Cathy Kroohs I did not object to the bankers being tried and convicted, I just wish the framework for penalties was broader in Iceland so they'd do real time instead of staying at a luxury resort for 4 years, being allowed to earn their living cheating and embezzling like they did before the financial collapse.

    Bob Innes The old political parties are so corrupt that giving the Pirate Party the chance to run things for one term would actually be preferable, because the way things are going in Iceland now, they're heading headfirst into a new finance crises that can easily make the last one seem like a minor hickup.

    I moved away from Iceland for good in 2014 and I just wish my remaining family can survive the aftermath of the upcoming collapse.

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  22. Come on… give the judiciary system and the special prosecutor his due credit! There were REAL sentences passed that anyone can see. Most of the cases ended with CONVICTION. Guðmundur – You are Icelandic like I am and know as well as I do that the guys are in jail right now.

    Could there have been more convictions? YES.

    Could the politicians responsible for the Reagan-esque deregulation mess that DIRECTLY caused this be punished? I WISH but they made what they did legal, so the answer is NO. Not without breaking the law to punish them. We tried, and only the ex-prime minister was convicted without jail term or fines though.

    Are we winding up for another fuckup? YES, without a doubt.

    But, don't say there haven't been men locked up. 11 years are NOT a slap on the wrist. The main guys are already up to the maximum sentences allowed, and even though more cases are coming against them, they CAN NOT get extra jail terms. It's maxed out.

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  23. Alex Konala Hehe – It's just 5% of the bank that goes to EVERYONE. 95% go to the financial minister's friends and family, just like last time. The dudes that just got jailed, were raised high by Bjarni's political party, his predecessors, and he's actually one of the guys that "Got Away With It" during the crash.

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  24. Vida, clearly you missed MY point. Which is the pathetic amount, considering what was squandered. Assets should be seized and sold from all involved, until every dime is paid back.

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  26. Rúnar Þór Þórarinsson Very true. I suppose my words come from frustration of how many still got away with so much. The bankers currently held responsible and the complete ruins left by them are very disproportionate. There's also the feeling of government nonchalantly denying any responsibility and the same people being in power now, poised for a new disaster down the road.

    But yes, my statement above doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

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  27. Tomas Thrainsson I think even the fact bankers in your country were tried in a court is a positive step, I cannot comment on the rest as my knowlegde of Icelandic politics is poor but thank you for the insight its very intertesting. However the UK is a disgrace! Some of these disgusting people have even been given a peerage in our house of Lords, I was brought up to be honest and play fair and the inequalities I see daily make me sick honeestly. I still believe Iceland is a more fair and honest place to live as Alex said above.

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  29. Dearest Icelandic women, there are far worse men to love. I very much want to live in your country. The food here is poisonous. Thanks in advance. signed ~ your future husband.

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  30. Rúnar Þór Þórarinsson, It was not "Reagan-esque deregulation" that caused the mess in the United States. It was a "gentleman" known as Robert Rubin who pushed for the repeal of depression era regulation known as Glass-Steagall at the behest of Citibank. Glass-Steagall was repealed by Bill Clinton and Rubin went on to "earn" $100 million over ten years at Citibank after he left the CLINTON administration. Bill Clinton went on to "earn" $100 million in the next ten years giving speaches. Just remember, Democrats are for the "little guy".

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  31. iceland has thermo energy and is one of the few countries that grows its own land with more and more volcanic erruptions. I think they are doing A ok

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  32. That because Iceland didnt take any African and middle eastern mmigration..

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  33. Keep fishing ! A Country full of good looking,intelligent people who sit on enough thermal energy to power generations of growth. Hope the world pays no notice ! It will just take advantage of one of earth'so best kept secrets!

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