Two of six bank crash charges against former Iceland PM dropped by court

Two of the biggest charges against former Icelandic Prime Minister, Geir H. Haarde, were this week dropped. Haarde said the two charges were by far the most serious the Landsdomur high court was to judge him on and that he looks forward to proving his innocence on the others.

The Landsdomur exists to try existing and former government members for negligence in their jobs. The court has been called together for the first time in the history of the Icelandic Republic to try Haarde for negligence in the run-up to, and aftermath of, the banking collapse. The trial on the remaining cases is expected to begin in the New Year; although Haarde and his defence had been pushing for all charges to be dropped.

The country’s Althingi parliament began its case against Geir H. Haarde in front of the Landsdomur on 10th May; but this week its judges decided to partially grant the defendant’s request to have the case thrown out.

RUV reports that one of the charges dropped is for gross neglect of duty given the grave and worsening danger of collapse the banks found themselves in. That case was found to be too ambiguously worded to try properly. The other charge was that Haarde did not conduct an in-depth analysis of the risks posed to financial institutions — but the judges ruled that was not illegal and cannot be charged.

Four charges remain; including for the former PM’s inaction in reducing the size of the bloated banks in time and for not ensuring that Landsbanki’s Icesave accounts in the UK and Netherlands were split off into subsidiary companies in those countries.