The economic crime department of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police is investigating an alleged illegal ISK 5 billion (USD 41 million, EUR 29 million) loan granted by investment company FL Group (currently known as Stodir) to its former CEO Hannes Smárason.
Hannes Smárason. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The department’s prosecutor Helgi Magnús Gunnarsson told berlinske.dk that Smárason is also suspected of breach of commission in relation to FL Group’s acquisition of the Denmark-based Sterling Airlines in 2005. The airline was allegedly traded back and forth between people who were all connected with FL Group.
The economic crime department searched two of Smárason’s homes in Reykjavík yesterday morning in relation to alleged taxation law violations by companies owned by Smárason, according to the sources of mbl.is.
The department also searched the premises of law firm Logos. One of Logos’ executives, Gunnar Sturluson, served both as managing director and board member for Smárason’s companies at the time when the alleged violations took place. Sturluson quit working for these companies in November 2008.
Sturluson confirmed to Fréttabladid that the house search had taken place and that police had been given the data they requested, but would otherwise not comment on the investigation. The newspaper was unable to reach Smárason in relation to this story.
Logos’s premises were searched for the second time yesterday by representatives from the office of the special prosecutor in relation to the acquisition of Q Iceland Finance, a holding company owned by Sheik Mohamed bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar, in a five percent share in Kaupthing Bank.
According to Vidskiptabladid, the acquisition is suspected of having been staged to affect the exchange rate of the bank’s shares.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Fréttabladid that he is pleased with how effective the investigators have become; by launching two extensive investigations within a short period of time, his hope is that they will continue along the same lines.
“We need it. It is a vital part of the nation accepting that no stone is being left unturned in this matter,” the minister commented.
Click here to read more about the acquisition in Kaupthing Bank.