11 cases of Iceland krona exchange law breaches under investigation

The Central Bank of Iceland has sent 11 cases of suspected currency exchange control breaches for investigation by the financial crimes division of the national police.

So far this year, the currency control unit at the Central Bank of Iceland has forwarded 11 of its cases on to the police where it believes currency exchange restrictions have been broken with criminal intent.

According to RUV, the suspected currency exchange crimes amount to nearly half of the financial crimes police division’s current case load.

One of the biggest such chases of alleged currency crimes is against a Swedish company called Aserta. The company is accused of receiving payments in foreign currencies and exchanging that money for Icelandic kronur outside of Iceland at unofficial offshore rates — meaning more kronur per dollar, euro or pound. The Icelandic currency was allegedly then put into domestic Icelandic bank accounts, where the company was able to profit from the difference between the official and unofficial exchange rates. The amount in question is ISK 13 billion (EUR 79.13 million at the official rate). According to RUV sources, the illegal practice went on between autumn 2008, when the currency exchange restrictions came into force, and October 2009.

Details of the case were first released at a joint press conference in January last year, held by the police, the central bank and the FME financial regulator. The case is still being investigated by financial crimes police in Reykjavik.

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