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One Sister Claims Innocence in Extortion Case

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One Sister Claims Innocence in Extortion Case

Money - Icelandic Króna

Photo: Páll Kjartansson

In an interview with the media yesterday, Malín Brand asserted her innocence of the attempted extortion of Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. She claimed that her involvement in the case was limited to being present in the car with her sister, Hlín Einarsdóttir, when the latter drove to south of Hafnarfjörður on Friday to pick up the money, and where police special forces were waiting in ambush.

“I didn’t have anything to do with writing the letter or sending it,” Malín told mbl.is. She stated that she had partly known what was going on when she got in the car with her sister but didn’t think anyone would take the letter seriously because it should have been obvious that the person who had written it was ill.

When Malín saw the police she realized what she had gotten herself into and intended to drive away. “But I have confessed everything and I have nothing to hide. I regret my involvement in this case. My mistake was being at that location.”

The police released a statement yesterday saying both women had confessed to having sent the letter. However, Friðrik Smári Björgvinsson, chief of the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police’s investigative department told mbl.is later that, “It may not take two to post a letter.”

Sigmundur explained in a statement that the letter had been addressed to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, and sent to their home on Thursday afternoon.

The letter, which was partly handwritten and party made with cut-out letters, threatened to release information about the financial connection between Sigmundur and Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, the owner of Vefpressan media company, Vísir reports.

The PM was supposed to deliver ISK several million to the location in Hafnarfjörður if he wished to keep the information secret.

“The information is based on speculation and rumors … I notified the police, of course, who solved the case very professionally,” Sigmundur stated, adding, “I have no financial connection with Björn Ingi Hrafnsson and am not involved in Vefpressan’s acquisition of DV in any way.”

Björn has also denied that Sigmundur had any part in the acquisition of DV. “I’d like to request that it be taken into consideration that this is a case of a human tragedy,” he wrote on his Facebook page, according to Vísir. The PM has also requested that the media be considerate in its coverage of the case.

Hlín and Björn were a couple from 2011 to 2014. She was the editor of news website bleikt.is, of which Björn was owner. Malín worked as a journalist for Morgunblaðið newspaper but is now on leave until August 1.

After being arrested at noon on Friday, the sisters were questioned by the police for approximately 24 hours before they were released from custody. Both their homes were searched and their telephones and computers confiscated. The case is considered solved.

If found guilty of extortion the women may face up to six years in prison.

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