Iceland hits unprecidented hights in political sleaze

After the initial post earlier today about the millions from FL Group to the Independence party in Iceland, things have turned out to be a bit bizarre. First off Bjarni Benediktsson, the new party chairman sent out a statement that the party will return the 30 million ISK to FL Group, or Stodir as it called today. Then he added that they would also return 25 million ISK to Landsbanki. That was not known, but not unexpected as we told in the entry earlier today. The party must have known this would come out too. A decent PR move to return the money in order to look good in the eyes of the public and to gain some points for the upcoming elections.

Strange to think about that Landsbanki is in revievership, and Stodir just asked for emergency negotiations preceeding a possible bankruptcy.

What has made people even more mad is the fact that the party refuses to take responsibility for those deals. The former office director of the party Kjartan Gunnarsson, a close ally to David Oddsson and Geir H. Haarde and the so called inner circle claims he knew nothing about this and did not receive the money personally. This is one of those men who know everything that goes on, and has been one of their main policy makers over the years.

The public is not convinced by this actions since the party did not acknowledge its part in the economic collapse. Geir H. Haarde the ex PM only apologised to his party for failing them. Not the nation, just his party.  Geir recently quit as PM and as party chairman after the government fell apart in January following the riots in Reykjavik.

Then the bizarre twist and a rather stupid PR move was put in place when he alone claims to be responsible. He has left politics, and takes the blame for the party to make it look good. Not many believe that he is responsible for this all by himself. What he added was even less credible; “…that this was his sole responsibility because the money was a collection from many smaller contributors that this company had promised to deliver. I alone as chairman of the party at that time was responsible. The party directors, ex and present have no responsibility in the matter what so ever.“.

He mentions this one payment from FL Group and speaks of it in singular tone. What then about the Landsbanki millions? This smells like desperation and a total failure in sense of PR moves. It is simply badly done and badly executed.

The questions that linger are serious for the credibility of the party and for Icelandic politics in general.

Was the reason for the payback that they got busted with the hand in the cookie jar (probably yes)?

Did it conflict with their sense of morality (for a political party…fat chance!)?

And the most serious of all… what did the money actually buy?  This last one makes one think in a more sinister way. All this money from large companies run by the men responsible for the economic collapse in Iceland. What more skeletons will appear when the closet is finally fully opened?


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