Haarde claims he saved Iceland economy, should not be on trial

Former Icelandic prime mininster Geir H. Haarde, who is on trial for incompetence during the banking crash, has told the AFP that the trial is a sham and that he actually helped save Iceland from Greece’s fate.

“We saved the country from going bankrupt,” Haarde, told AFP in an interview this week — adding that a different course of action would have led to complete economic ruin for Iceland.

According to an upbeat Haarde Iceland, under his leadership, made decisions different to Ireland and Greece and has come out of the crisis better than its two allies.

Geir H. Haarde is the only political figure on trial and he could face a prison term and hefty fines if found guilty. The so-called black report into the banking crisis recommended that four politicians should face trial; but the Althingi parliament only voted to prosecute Haarde in front of the Landsdomur. Criminal investigations into the banks are in the hands of the special prosecutor and not connected to the Landsdomur.

Haarde told AFP that he is happy to be alone in his situation because his colleagues are lucky to not be part of it.

Geir Haarde feels the trial is a front to cover an attack by long-standing political rivals including current finance minister and leader of the jointly governing Left Green Movement, Steingrimur J. sigfusson.

Sigfusson defended himself, saying that the trial is anything but a personal attack on Haarde — it is a procedure recommended by the black report. It is also justified in its own right, Sigfusson believes: “When it became clear we were heading towards catastrophe … the record shows very little was done to avoid it”.

Haarde’s lawyers hope a third attempt to get the case thrown out on technical grounds will be successful. Haarde contests that the charge sheet against him is too short and lacks detail — specifically details about what he should have done but did not, and what impacts those ‘correct’ actions would have had.