Media moguls also played Icelandic banking game

glitlandsthing3Three Icelandic media men owed over ISK 100 million (USD 790,000 at today’s rate) each when the banks collapsed. Loans connected to Bjorn Ingi Hrafnsson, former Reykjavik city councillor and owner of Pressan.is news service amounted to ISK 560 million (USD 4.4 million) at the end of September 2008.

Direct loans to Hrafnsson amounted to 100 million and the rest were taken through his companies, Cambra-Hugmyndir and Ord ehf. They were nearly all in the form of advance share purchase contracts. In September 2008, the company made a new contract for the purchase of ISK 230 million in shares in Exista.

Loans connected to Oli Bjorn Karason amounted to around half a billion kronur at the time of the collapse and nearly all ran through his company OB Investments.

Styrmir Gunnarsson, the former Morgunbladid editor, had loans with all three of the big banks. They were highest at the beginning of 2006 and in the first seven months of that year, his loans through Landsbanki amounted to 130 million kronur and his total loans were ISK 150 million. From the middle of 2007, his debts to the three banks were under ISK 100 million at a time when most debt burdens were increasing fast.

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