Andri Árnason, Geir H. Haarde’s defense attorney, held his closing statement before Landsdómur Court last Friday.Geir H. Haarde. Photo, Copyright by the Icelandic Photo Agency.
Andri said that three conditions must be fulfilled in order for the court to be able rule that Geir broke the law and the prosecutor was not able to fulfill any of them. It was not demonstrated that a pending threat was a danger to the well-being of the Icelandic state nor that such a threat could have been foreseen. Finally, it was not proven that Geir did not do everything in his power to prevent or limit the damage of the impending danger.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Geir H. Haarde is charged on four accounts. The first charge includes negligence of making sure that the work of a consultation group, composited by the authorities, about financial stability was systematic and successful. Andri said that the prosecutor failed utterly in explaining the purpose of this account.
The second account involves Geir’s failure to initiate decisive action on behalf of the government to reduce the size of the banking system, e.g. by moving the headquarters of one bank overseas. Geir had no legal authority to take direct action against the banks to make them sell property or move headquarters overseas, and it would have been absurd to put such action to the test in the advent of the collapse, said Andri.
In the third account, Geir is charged with not having assured himself of the fact that the transfer of the Icesave accounts, from Landsbanki’s branch in Britain to a subsidiary, was in progress with the involvement of the state. It is not in any way realistic or natural to assume that Geir, as Prime Minister, should have been in the lead of those who worked on the transfer of the Icesave accounts from Landsbanki to a subsidiary, said Andri.
In the fourth and final account, Geir is charged with having neglected to mention the impending threat to the financial system in cabinet meetings. Andri said that witnesses had testified that the situation of the financial market had indeed been discussed within the government and therefore it is impossible to convict Geir of this account, Fréttablaðið reports.
After both attorneys had finished their closing arguments, the court adjourned to contemplate on its ruling. It was not specified how long the judges will take to decide, but a ruling is expected in or after mid April.
After the proceedings were over, Geir H. Haarde said that he was relieved that this part of the case was over. He said that he was not worried about the results of the jury because he is innocent of all charges and that he trusted the jury completely to evaluate the facts of the case, ruv.is reports.
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