Landsbanki, chocolate and the dirty laundry

The new name on this website is Gísli Reynisson. He is one of the people who went abroad and came back rich after various enterprises in Eastern Europe. He was not know very well in Iceland until his untimely death at the age of 43 from illness. Sigrún Davíðsdóttir the excellent RUV.is journalist wrote an article about Gísli and I use her article as a reference.

Gísli studied in the USA and finished a phd in finance from Finland. While working for a Finnish investment firm he went to St. Petersburg in Russia, coincidently at the same time as Björgólfur Thor and his father Björgólfur Guðmundsson where starting to build up their empire there. That adventure has been told on this site before

Gisli soon moved to Riga in Latvia where he soon became a local investment favourite. His main business partner was Damants Vitols who had all the right connections in Latvia according to Sigrún Davíðsdóttir. This was just before the year 2000. Late year 2000 he founded the company Nordic Industries and a few other companies who among other things included a biscuit factory and a chocolate factory.

He also started the company Nordic Partners with Vitols and Bjarni Gunnarsson and Jón Þór Hjaltason. The company invested in Latvia by themselves as with others who did business there. Beside all the chocolate and biscuits, Gísli was into real estate. He bought old industrial housing and fixed them up to be sold or used again. Around 2004 Landsbanki was in partnership with Gísli, and Landsbanki Luxembourg had 53% in Nordic Partners according to Sigrún Davíðsdóttir. She also say‘s that those close to him claim that his status and wealth had increased dramatically after Landsbanki came into the equation.gisli

Not everyone liked his influence and business practices in Latvia and just like Björgólfur Thor in Bulgaria, Gísli never moved unless he had bodyguards with him. That to me is a clear indication that he was in partnership with organised crime, for the simple reason that corruption and mafia influence are extremely high in Latvia, just as they are in other former Soviet states. It seems that Gísli was in the same business as Björgólfur, working for or with organised crime, laundering money and systematically running companies to the ground to clean the cash. Or was it just reckless stupidity that was the root of all this madness?

Gísli and Björgólfur jr and sr in St. Petersburg at the same time. It is not a coincidence that Landsbanki was very favourable to Gísli, and the bank more or less financed most if his escapades after 2004 without much collateral.

There is not much of evidence to support this, but knowing how things worked with Björgólfur Thor, where they were and with whom, it seems likelier than not.

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