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Jailed Banker Stripped of Knight’s Cross

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Jailed Banker Stripped of Knight’s Cross

Former chair of Kaupþing Sigurður Einarsson.

Sigurður Einarsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

For the first time in Icelandic history, a person granted the Order of the Falcon has lost the right to carry the medal, RÚV reports.

The Order of the Falcon is a sign of honor granted by the president of Iceland to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their work. Sigurður Einarsson, former chairman of the board of Kaupþing bank, was honored with the Order’s Knight’s Cross in 2007 for his leadership in the export of Icelandic financial operations.

A few weeks ago, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson revoked Sigurður’s right to carry the medal, based on Presidential Letter Number 13, which states that the president has the right to revoke the honor should its recipient later be found guilty of misconduct.

The Supreme Court of Iceland sentenced Sigurður to four years in prison in February for his role in the so-called Al-Thani case. He was charged with market manipulation in relation to Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of more than five percent of shares (worth ISK 25.7 billion) in Kaupþing Bank shortly before it collapsed in autumn 2008. Sigurður is currently serving his sentence at the Kvíabryggja Prison.

Sigurður used to be among the president’s associates , as described in a book about the president, written by Guðjón Friðriksson. According to Guðjón, their cooperation began as early as 2000 on bank-related issues, among others.

The president, who is attending the UN Climate Conference in Paris, has declined to comment on his decision to revoke Sigurður’s right to carry the medal, according to the presidential secretary.

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