Eight people—six men and two women—were this afternoon convicted in one of Iceland’s biggest tax fraud investigations of recent times. The defendants were each sentenced to three-month to four-year suspended prison sentences.
The heaviest conviction, a four-year suspended prison sentence, was handed down to Halldór Jörgen Gunnarsson, a former Directorate of Internal Revenue employee, who facilitated the crime and was guilty of offences against public office.
The second-heaviest penalty, a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence, was given to Steingrímur Þór Ólafsson, who at the time was considered the ringleader of those who were arrested. The judgement also permanently confiscates from him around ISK 5 million, an expensive watch and a gold chain.
One of the women received an 18-month suspended sentence, a man got one year, another six months, two people received four-month suspended sentences and one a three-month term. As stated, all sentences are suspended.
Eight were charged in the case, accused of defrauding ISK 300 million (EUR 2.5 million/USD 2.7 million at today’s rates) from tax authorities by claiming a refund on VAT due to the construction of two houses. RÚV reports that the houses in question were never actually built, however. Furthermore, the VAT refunded against them was never paid to the State in the first place.
The case first hit the press in September 2010 when six were remanded in custody. Two weeks later, a seventh person was arrested in Venezuela, accused of being part of the fraud. He was later extradited to Iceland and remand in custody.
The charges state that a large proportion of the proceeds the defendants are accused of stealing, around ISK 278 million, were handed over to an unidentified man and that he was not among the defendants sentenced today.