Icelandic prosecutor conducts wave of raids in Glitnir case

“This is one of the very biggest that we have gone into,” says Iceland’s Special Prosecutor into the banking crisis, Olafur Thor Hauksson about a large series of raids yesterday.

Some 70 people took part in the raids connected to Glitnir Bank. The Special Prosecutor used staff from the police force in Reykjavik, Akureyri and Hvolsvollur, members of the elite Viking Squad, financial officers from the national police and FME financial regulator staff members in the raids.

Yesterday began with surprise raids on ten houses, and more followed as the day progressed. There were nearly 20 before the day was over. “It is normal process that when it comes to light that materials can be found elsewhere, we need to go and search there,” Hauksson told Visir.is.

It has not been ruled out that former major shareholders and managers at Glitnir will be brought in for interrogation, although Hauksson’s team has not yet asked the courts to remand anybody in custody.

Ten people were questioned in connection with the investigation yesterday. Among them were Bjarni Johannsson, former Glitnir business manager; Gudny Sigurdardottir, who worked in the loans department; and Thorvaldur Ludvik Sigurjonsson, president of Saga Investment Bank. Other Saga employees and former Glitnir employees were also questioned. Some people were arrested, but it has not been revealed how many.

The Special Prosecutor told Bylgjan radio this morning that his office has not requested any of the arrested people be held in custody. Police can hold people for up to 24 hours without court permission.

Former Glitnir president, Larus Welding is expected to come to Iceland from London voluntarily tomorrow to be questioned, according to Frettabladid.

Despite the fact that the specific breaches of law currently under investigation were probably carried out by people other than Glitnir’s top managers, the law still states that the final blame lies with the bank board and owners.