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Reply #7: Iceland's Toxic Legacy Mountains of Debt Temper Hopes despite Recovery [View All]

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 07:56 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Iceland's Toxic Legacy Mountains of Debt Temper Hopes despite Recovery,1518,80228...

The man supposedly to blame for the whole mess is wearing a checkered jacket and keeping his head low. Geir Haarde was Iceland's prime minister when it suffered a near-death experience almost three years ago. In the space of a few days, the country's three largest banks collapsed, the value of the krona nosedived and the country was on the verge of national bankruptcy.

The former premier is now the first politician in all of Europe who will stand trial for the financial disaster. Iceland's 1905 constitution makes it possible to convict political figures of a crime if they did not act -- or did not act quickly enough -- in a situation posing a danger to the state. Haarde could face up to two years in prison.

"Of course, from today's perspective," Haarde says, "I would have done a few things differently back then." He is not even able to maintain his own office anymore. Instead, friends have set him up with an office in a law firm and are bankrolling his legal expenses.

"I'm everyone's scapegoat, and yet I committed no crimes," Haarde says. "On the contrary, we rescued Iceland back then -- and we did so without the taxpayers having to pick up the banks' tab.
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