“I, the undersigned Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson, offer my apologies to all Icelanders for my part in the property and debt bubble that led to the collapse of the Icelandic banking system. I apologise to you all for complacency in the face of the red flags that were going up all around. I apologise for having not followed my instincts when I became aware of the risks. I apologies to you all.”
These are the words of Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson – former largest owner of Landsbanki and owner and chairman of Straumur and former 249th richest man on Earth, according to Forbes. In 2009 his fortune had plummeted to a mere billion dollars and its status today is not public knowledge.
Bjorgolfsson wrote these words in a letter to the Frettabladid newspaper. He said he cannot help but be filled with guilt when he sees the effects of the crash but also believes he did not break any specific laws. He is now working to pay off his debts.
“It is clear that although much of my property is going to creditors, I will nonetheless work on their behalf for many years, until such time as I have fully settled them. I am committed to complete these tasks with honour,” Bjorgolfsson wrote.
Bjorgolfur did not issue his apology now by coincidence. He decided previously not to make any statements until the Althingi investigation committee had completed its work.
In analysing the financial crash from his own vantage point, Bjorgolfsson says that no one man was capable of changing the developing situation once the operating environment of the banks took a turn for the worse. He said on the other hand that he had been one of those in a position to have had some influence on the way things were headed.
“The current situation says everything about how I did my job. I apologise to all Icelanders for not having done better.” These were his last words in the letter.