"The secret investors" of Iceland

After the economic collapse here in Iceland, the words of today are transparency and openness.

This has not always been so here. The more secret things were, the more personal deals were, the less paperwork or paper trail left behind to show who did what and why the better the deal according to those involved. The went so far that the government sold entire banks to fraudsters (the sale of Landsbanki to Björgólfur to name one) without any notes being taken official government  meetings. This is one of the main problems for the investigators of the collapse.

The stock market and everything connected to that kind of business was a serious problem. It seems now that deals were made on paper only to boost the value of shares that the public, pension funds and other investors bought, all pushed on by false information. FAKE was the word in closed smoke filled rooms of the major money men, were they met with politicians and each other to shape the “glorious future of Iceland as an international financial center”, that would only be rivaled by London, NYC and Tokio perhaps.

One thing struck some people who dared look through the smoke and the fog of bullshit so transparent for everyone who wanted to see. Sadly most people chose to immerse themselves in the fog, in the cloud of bullshit and self delusion that has become the trademark of the Icelandic national identity of recent years.

This thing was “the secret investor”. Often when a major company was sold and bought, for example, newspapers, local media conglomerates, airlines, banks, retail companies, supermarket chains and so on, there was often a secret investor who would not be named on purpose. This was accepted by the media (owned by the same people usually), this was accepted by the politicians who stayed like baby kangaroos in their large pockets, this was accepted by the competition regulator (baby kangaroos perhaps?) and by the investment world that was ruled by the blue hand of free market. Ruled in the sense that deregulation and total freedom would make sure that the market would regulate itself.

The market did, and the results are obvious. Corruption was and is rife, secrecy and deception took over. Iceland crashed economically, socially and morally. When such things happen (the Roman Empire for example) things have been rotting from the inside for years or never been true in the first place.

Back to the secret investors. The pattern was always the same. One major shareholder or investor was not named. In each case it was the same man or his best friends who served as a front for him. This was so when Fréttablaðið was bought for the sole purpose of serving this persons interests in a massive law suit against him. He won the case and the retail market, and the media, and the politicians and  so on and so forth.

Jón Ásgeir  Jóhannsesson of Baugur is a master of deceiving the often stupid- and in most cases, the voluntarily blind public who like nothing more than to follow the breadcrumbs he leaves for them.

Now Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson of Baugur has done it again. Everyone was blind as usual even though the obvious truth stared them in the face. Jón Ásgeir just bought the 365 media company right after he lost it around the time the economy fell apart.

The situation now is this Baugur is bankrupt, one of the largest corporate bankruptcy in Britain, of all time. Claims return in the estate are  between 1% and 2%, if lucky claims Morgunblaðið under the editorial wisdom of Davíð Oddsson. Fréttablaðið, owned by Jón Ásgeir claims this to be a fabrication, the claims usually have about 10% return rate. Total claims are 317 billion ISK. Even if the whitewash of Fréttablaðið is true, then it is still pocket change.

Jón Ásgeir just bought the same media company again by adding 1 billion ISK as a share increase, but how can a man who has run almost every company he has bought to the ground almost with the same enthusiastic will and results as Björgólfur Thor, supply such amount of money. Simples….His wife just did it for him. She is in charge of at least two companies called 101 Capital and ISP, they have not money and owe over 20 billion ISK. She still managed to add 1 billion ISK to the media company. All this is so secret, the percentage of shares, how they are registered and who owns the last remaining 20% of the media company.

It all sounds so familiar. The bankrupt family who who stole billion up on billions and their fake fronts (closest friends) still have all the controls over the media when they should be banned from ever coming close to any business deals ever again. This happens under the watchful eye of the politicians as usual.

Their motto after the collapse was transparency and openness. As politicians usually do; nothing to change the lucrative status quo that serves them personally and the give the financial madmen and international and local law breakers their companies back on a silver platter.

Welcome to the real world NEO.

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