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Imprisoned Bankers Complain about Michael Moore’s Access to Prison

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Imprisoned Bankers Complain about Michael Moore’s Access to Prison

Archive photo. Photo: Ed Gregory.

Three imprisoned Icelandic bankers, jailed for their role in the Al Thani case, have written a letter to the Ombudsman of Alþingi, complaining about Prison Director Páll Winkel, mbl.is reports. The three men are all serving their sentences at Kvíabryggja prison.

The three men assert, among other things, that US film director Michael Moore was allowed access to the prison in an effort to film them during his visit to Iceland in 2015. The prison director has until February 1 to respond to the ombudsman’s request for clarification.

In their letter to the ombudsman, dated December 31, the prisoners list four complaints:

First of all is Páll’s response to the media regarding the prisoners. On October 10 last year, when asked by Morgunblaðið whether prisoners at Kvíabryggja had requested permission to drink wine with their meals, Páll responded, “There have been requests from certain prisoners for permission to consume red wine and other alcoholic beverages with meals on special occasions. Those have of course been denied.” Vísir quoted Páll as saying he had been contacted by a PR firm regarding the request to serve wine.

Secondly, they complain that Moore’s film crew came to the prison to film without the knowledge or approval of the three, and spoke to other prisoners about the three imprisoned bankers. The bankers stayed in their rooms and were not filmed, RÚV reports.

The third complaint has to do with Páll’s remark in Fréttablaðið, where the three believe he alludes to having received direct and indirect offers of bribes. Regarding the source of the bribe offers, he said: “I'm not necessarily talking about [individuals] connected to the financial crisis.” The three are upset at the mere mention of individuals involved in the financial crisis.

The fourth complaint concerns Páll’s providing information to the media about riding lessons planned for the imprisoned bankers, which ended up being canceled.

The imprisoned bankers believe the prison director has with his conduct broken a regulation which forbids naming or discussing the private affairs of other prisoners than those who are being interviewed, and forbids photographing other prisoners than those being interviewed, unless their approval has been granted.

Páll has not yet responded to media requests for comment.

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