Iceland Has Sentenced 26 Bankers To Prison While US White Collar Prosecutions Hit Record Low

While the U.S. government famously bailed out the banks that created the 2008 financial crisis, the Icelandic government took them over and continues to prosecute the bankers who helped cause the collapse.
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    REYKJAVIK, Iceland — While the number of cases against alleged corporate criminals fell to record-lows in the United States, Iceland is continuing to prosecute the bankers who caused the 2008 global financial crisis, with dozens already landing prison sentences.

    So far, Iceland has sentenced 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison. The latest to face charges are five top executives from two of the country’s largest banks, Kaupþing and Landsbanki, which the Icelandic government took control of in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.

    These charges stand in sharp contrast to the situation in the U.S., where fewer corporate executives than ever are facing criminal prosecution. A report from researchers at Syracuse University revealed that during the first nine months of the 2015 fiscal year, federal prosecution for white collar crime fell to a 20-year low.


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    Iceland has reserved its harshest sentences for the top managers at the offending banks, according to an Oct. 14 report from Iceland Magazine:

    “The former top bosses of Kaupþing have received the longest sentences to date. Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, the former CEO of failed bank Kaupþing and Magnús Guðmundsson, the CEO of Kaupþing Luxembourg, top the list, having been sentenced to a combined six years in prison for extensive market manipulation, embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duties.”

    Although Icelandic law caps combined prison sentences for financial crimes at a six-year maximum, there is an exception for repeated and systematic offenses, and Magnús and Hreiðar Már are both facing future trials that may extend their prison terms. Other bankers or financial industry executives are also awaiting trial:

    “In addition to the bosses of the three largest banks several other financiers and bankers have been sentenced by the Supreme Court or the Reykjavík District Court for crimes in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. The most prominent of these was Baldur Guðlaugsson, the former permanent secretary of Ministry of Finance, who was sentenced to two years in prison for insider trading in 2012.”

    The Kaupþing four Former Chairman, Sigurður Einarsson, former CEO Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, former CEO of Kaupþing Luxembourg Magnús Guðmundsson and Corporate Viking Ólafur Ólafsson, sentenced this February for market manipulation. Photo/Vísir.is

    The Kaupþing four Former Chairman, Sigurður Einarsson, former CEO Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, former CEO of Kaupþing Luxembourg Magnús Guðmundsson and Corporate Viking Ólafur Ólafsson, sentenced this February for market manipulation. Photo/Vísir.is

    According to Dan Wright, a journalist who covers corporate power and inequality for the investigative press organization Shadowproof, the U.S. Justice Department vowed in September to change its policy on corporate executives that commit crimes, writing in a memo that the DOJ would “fully leverage its resources to identify culpable individuals at all levels in corporate cases.”

    Despite these assurances, Wright noted that the DOJ has still failed to prosecute any executives for recent corporate crimes, such as a scheme by Boeing executives to defraud the U.S. Air Force or the decision by General Motors officials to deliberately mislead the public and government regulators about a faulty ignition switch that killed over 120 people.

    On tour for his book “The Courage To Act,” Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis, told USA Today: “[I]t would have been my preference to have more investigations of individual actions because obviously everything that went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm.”

    But as Wright reported on Oct. 6:

    “All the major Wall Street financial firms nicknamed Too Big To Fail banks – Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs – have paid out settlements for illegal conduct in the mortgage security market that caused the 2008 financial crisis. No individual executives have gone to jail or even faced prosecution for that conduct.”

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      • SeaNote

        If immigrants don’t like what goes on in the USA, they should leave for a better place.

      • James Wherry

        This was one of those rare times, when the Left and the Right joined hands in 2008. 66% of all Americans FIRMLY opposed taking tax dollars and using them to bail out big banks so Barney (Frank’s) Bilionaire Bankers could keep getting theri billion-dollar bonuses. That’s both Libertarian conservatives and economic liberals, all of whom oppose welfare for the rich. Sadly, both Senator Obama, Senator McCain and Senator Biden voted FOR the atrocity.

        We were promised a “pay czar” that would review the bonuses of bankers with authority to stop them. At NO time did the so-called “pay czar” decline or deny a single bonuse, including one for $120,000,000, one year to one banker. The whole thing was run like a sham. Even banks that said they did not need a bail-out were pressured to take them by the government.

        Some of the financial service industries proudly claim they paid their loans back. Yeah: their LOANS. And what about the $3.2 Trillion in “toxic assets” that the Fed absorbed and is carrying “off the books?” There’s a reason the loans were called “toxic.” That debt exists and some day, it will come back to haunt us. If you do not believe so, then ask yourself: how about giving everyone a “tax holiday” for 4 years. No income taxes. Instead, we’ll just print money. Do you think that might have an adverse effect on the economy? I do.

      • SILVERSTREAK

        THE REASONS ARE ALL WELL KNOWN TO ALL THOSE THAT ARE AWARE AS THE CRIMINALITY OF ALL THOSE THAT BE3LONG TO A ESPECIFIC TRIBE OF PARASITICAL JEWS WHOSE ONLY PORPOSE IN LIFE IS TO KILL MAIM AND STEAL FROM NON JEWS AROUND THE WORLD, AND AMERICA HAS THE TOP HEADS OF THOSE BEASTS WELL FILTERED INTO ALL OUR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE.
        SOS TO EXPECT FOR THEM TO JUDGE THEMSELVES IT WOULD BE LIKE EXPECTING FOR THE SUN NOT TO SHOW ITS FACE TOMORROW.
        IT WON’T BE UNTIL AMERICA GROWS A REAL YOUNG MAN WITH ENOUGH INTEGRITY AND SENCE OF JUSTICE, LIKE PRESIDENT PUTIN APEARS TO HAVE, AND THAT WITH DISREGARD OF RELIGION, OR TRIBAL BELONGING THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL EVER GET TO SEE REAL JUSTICE TAKIE PLACE AND INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND PRIDE COULD RETURN TO ALL CITIZENS THAT ARE LAW AND GOD FEARING INDIVIDUALS, GOD WILL NEVER INTERFEAR AND BLESS A NATION THAT PUBLICLY HAS CHOSEN TO HAVE HIS COMMANDMENTS AND PRESENCE BE REMOVED FROM THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL SPECIALY IN THE SCHOLASTIC SYSTEM WHERE YOUNG MINDS NEED TO BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED THAT THERE IS A LIVING GOD THAT IS GREATER THAN ANY AND ALL MEN TO ANSWER TO WHEN FINAL JUDGMENT COMES FOR EACH ONE OF US.
        NO NATION CAN EVER STAY ALIVE ONCE IT HAS BEEN DIVIDED, AT ALL LEVELS IN SOCIETY WHEN THAT NATION HAS NO FEAR OF GOD AND BECOMES LAWLESS, BECAUSE SATAN IS THE DESTROYER AND THE ONE THAT LOVES CHAOS, AND THAT IS WHAT JEWS REPRESENT TO HUMANITY A LAWLESS, AND GODLESS TRIBE OF BEASTS. THAT WILL RECIBE THEIR JUST PUNISHMENT AT THE END OF THEIR MISERABLE LIFES.

      • GodsWill_ie

        Why are them Icelanders being so damn UnAmerican?

      • tapatio

        Would Iceland be kind enough to adopt the US? We need such a government.

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