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Jailed Bankers 'Released' After Change in Law

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Jailed Bankers 'Released' After Change in Law

Former chair of Kaupþing Sigurður Einarsson.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The three jailed former heads of Kaupþing Bank are today to be released from prison into almost total freedom, following a change in the law rushed through parliament in March.

Stundin reports that Sigurður Einarsson, the former chairman of the board at Kaupþing, Magnús Guðmundsson, the former head of Kaupþing Luxembourg, and Ólafur Ólafsson, the Samskip boss and one of the biggest Kaupþing shareholders, will be released from the low-security Kvíabryggju prison today.

They have served around one year of their four-to-five year sentences for economic crimes in the lead up to the banking crash.

Later today they will be moved to the halfway house, Vernd and will enjoy total freedom, aside from having to return to Vernd every night to sleep. Following this period, they will be put under electronic surveillance and allowed to return to normal life.

Their early release was made possible by a change in the law which was made this March.

The main part of the law change is to allow prisoners to double the amount of their sentence they serve at home, under electronic surveillance (i.e. tagged). The parliamentary bill was changed in committee to allow five days of electronic monitoring for every month of a prisoner’s sentence, instead of 2.5 days as it has been. This means that a prisoner sentenced to one year in prison can now spend the last 60 days electronically tagged and in the community, instead of 30 days. The rule change means criminals can now be released earlier from prison.

Alþingi approved the changes last month and the changes to the bill were reportedly rushed through quickly. Sources claim that Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, chair of the Alþingi General Committee and MP for the Independence Party, fought hard for the changes to be approved.

Left Green MP Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, told Stundin that she did not feel the change in the law was appropriate at this time; adding that it seems almost to have been created with these three specific prisoners in mind.

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