Last night, the RÚV news analysis program Kastljós suggested that an Icelandic supreme court lawyer might have failed to report his purchase and sale of shares in Glitnir Bank prior to the 2008 banking collapse.
Today, the judge, Markús Sigurbjörnsson, who is also the president of the Supreme Court, sent out a press release. In it, he explains that he inherited the shares from his mother. Besides, he states that unlike what was suggested in the news program, he did ask the permission of the Committee on Judicial Work for becoming the owner of the shares in 2002. That permission, he writes, was granted.
When he sold the shares, the proceeds went to Glitnir’s asset management, among other things, for the purchase of equity certificates in various mutual funds.
In the statement, Markús asserts it was not his duty to report the purchase of the equity certificates, since they did not make him the shareholder of a company.
According to the law, it is the duty of a judge to have the initiative to make sure he is qualified to judge in every case he handles. Markús emphasizes he has always done so, also in cases related to Glitnir Bank or its former employees.
In the statement, Markús explains that when his mother passed away in 2002, he inherited shares in the transportation company Eimskip, in addition to those in Icelandair and Íslandsbanki bank. Those were worth just under ISK 23 million (USD 208,000, EUR 194,000). Magnús writes that in a letter dated February 18, 2002, he asked the permission of the Committee on Judicial Work for taking possession of his part of the inheritance. The permission, Markús states, was granted two days later.