State Prosecutor Demands Retrial in Aurum Case

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State Prosecutor Demands Retrial in Aurum Case

Supreme Court of Iceland

The Supreme Court of Iceland. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

The State Prosecutor has appealed the acquittal of investor Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson and three high ranking employers of Glitnir Bank, now Íslandsbanki, in the Aurum Holdings case to the Supreme Court of Iceland.

According to ruv.is, the State Prosecutor believes that Sverrir Ólafsson, one of the three judges in the case and the brother of Ólafur Ólafsson of Samskip, one of the convicted in the Al-Thani case, was not qualified to judge in the Aurum case, and has asked that the Supreme Court to nullify the ruling and order a retrial.

In June, the Reykjavík District Court acquitted Jón Ásgeir, as well as former CEO of  Glitnir Lárus Welding and two of the bank’s employees, Magnús Arnar Arngrímsson and Bjarni Jóhannesson, of all charges brought against them by the Office of the Special Prosecutor. 

They were variously charged with either orchestrating or being accessory to market manipulation relating to a loan of ISK 6 billion granted by Glitnir. The loan was, according to the charges, used to purchase shares in the British jewelry retail chain Aurum Holdings. The charge also claims that ISK 1 billion of the loan went directly to Jón Ásgeir.

One of the three judges in the case, district attorney Arngrímur Ísberg, filed a dissenting opinion and wanted to convict Jón Ásgeir, Lárus and Magnús Arnar. All three judges agreed to acquit Bjarni.

After the ruling was made, it became known that one of the other judges in the case, professor Sverrir Ólafsson, is the brother of Ólafur Ólafsson of Icelandic transportation company Samskip, who was convicted last year for his involvement in market manipulation in the Al-Thani case. The Special Prosecutor stated that the connection between the two brothers mattered in the preparation of the Aurum Holdings case. Meanwhile, Sverrir has stated his suspicion that the prosecutor is only making this claim to weaken the acquittal, ruv.is reports.

If the Supreme Court does not comply with this request, the State Prosecutor alternately demands that the defendants be convicted and sentenced to jail time.

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