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2007 Business Excess Remembered Ten Years On

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2007 Business Excess Remembered Ten Years On

Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, posterchild for the pre-2008 Icelandic business ‘outvasion’ and former billionaire, has spent his 50th birthday reminiscing about the crazy times a decade ago, on his 40th.

He celebrated his 50th this March with a small gathering of his closest friends and family in Miami, and did so in style, arriving on a private jet. Despite being far out of most people’s reach, it was a pauper’s party compared with his last Big-O.

“On my 40th birthday, in March 2007, I was sitting on top of the world and only 250 people in it were richer than I was. I loaned presidents my private jets, mingled with Hollywood stars and media moguls and I was famous in Iceland as the country’s first billionaire,” Björgólfur writes in his new book.

His 40th birthday party took place in Jamaica, where he invited 250 guests and rapper 50 Cent was in charge of the entertainment.

The idea for the mega-party, he says, came from his wife, Kristín Ólafsdóttir, who suggested he use the occasion to thank the friends and family who helped him achieve his lofty position in the business world.

They decided to make it a surprise party, for the guests rather than the birthday boy, and hired a Boeing 767 jet, with only first class seating, which picked up guests in London and Reykjavík on the way to the surprise destination, Jamaica. All the guests were told was that they would be away for five days. Björgólfur says the everyone on the plane that day he and his wife knew well, and that the vast majority of them could not have afforded such a holiday under normal circumstances, mbl.is reports.

Fast forward ten years and though Björgólfur Thor was badly affected by the financial crisis, and criticized for his part in the collapse of Landsbanki and Straumur banks, he has remained a successful businessman and is once again Iceland’s richest man—though not a billionaire.

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