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Prime Minister Extortion Sisters Sentenced

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Prime Minister Extortion Sisters Sentenced

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson

Library picture of former prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The Reykjavík District Court has today sentenced sisters Hlín Einarsdóttir and Malín Brand to 12 months in prison—nine of which are in the form of a suspended sentence. The pair were sentenced for a high-profile attempt to blackmail money out of the then prime minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, two years ago. They were also sentenced for having extorted ISK 700,000 (EUR 5,864/USD 6,249) out of Hlín’s former boss.

As reported at the time, the sisters were arrested in Hafnarfjörður, at the designated cash handover spot, in May 2015, after a widespread operation by police special forces.

They stood accused of having sent two letters trying to extort money from Sigmundur Davíð. One of the letters was posted through the door of the then PM’s assistant, Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, while the other was sent to the PM’s wife. The first letter demanded ISK 7.5 million, while the second demanded ISK 8 million (EUR 67,000/USD71,000).

Both letters claimed that if the money was not handed over, Hlín would publicly release information she said she had, regarding Sigmundur Davíð’s financial dealings with a company called Vefpressan ehf., RÚV reports. The PM contacted police straight away.

The sisters were also accused of having extorted money from Hlín’s colleague, who, court evidence reveals, twice handed her money: ISK 200,000 and then ISK 500,000. Both handovers occurred at their joint workplace, the Morgunblaðið newspaper office. The court has ordered the sisters, both of whom worked as journalists, to compensate the former colleague ISK 1.3 million (EUR 10,890/USD 11,606).

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