So, yesterday the Supreme Court threw out 80% of the charges in the Baugur case.
Missed the prequel? Here’s a [very] brief summary: This past summer, the founders and key executives of Baugur Group, which owns half of Iceland and is working on the UK, were indicted on 40 separate criminal charges, mostly involving embezzlement and fraud. This came in the wake of a three-year investigation into the company, that began with a raid on its offices. The Baugur camp have maintained that they are victims of a political conspiracy – Iceland’s version of Russia’s Mikhael Khordokovski – and last month, a paper largely owned by the company published a series of confidential e-mails that gave strong indication that this was, in fact, correct. [A more detailed summary may be found here.]
The accused appeared in Reykjavík district court in August to have the charges read out. About three weeks later – shocker! – the court dismissed all 40 charges on the grounds that they were hopelessly flawed. The plaintiff – The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police – appealed to the Supreme Court, and the nation held its collective breath. And yesterday the Supreme Court threw out 32 of the 40 charges, and ordered the Reykjavík district court to commence proceedings on the remaining eight. [Which reportedly are ‘less serious’ than the others.]
What a fiasco. And what a serious judgement of the work of the Commissioner of Police. I mean – three years! Three years of intensive investigation into one company, costing millions of kronur, occupying the time and resources of dozens of people, to say nothing on the effect it’s had on the company and its reputation. And then it all gets thrown out of court! Adding insult to injury is the fact that this is the second time in a few years that the Commissioner of Police spends years and years investigating something that then gets thrown out of court. [The other case had been the most extensive investigation ever and was a huge case involving dealing in fraudulent art.]
It’s safe to say that a lot of people have had a lot of tap dancing to do in the last 24 hours. All the Big Players in this matter have been cross-examined in the media: The National Commissioner of Police, the head of the Economic Crimes Division, the Minister of Justice, et al. The most bizarre thing is that they claim it isn’t over, that they will simply issue new indictments. Which seems completely off. Because after all, an independent court of law has passed extensive written judgement on the indictments, and it is not the job of an independent court of law to instruct the plaintiff on how to do his work, so he can then go away and fix it according to their instructions. Correct? I mean, we live in a democratic society. Don’t we?
Our ex-Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson, Baugur foe number one who some maintain is the driving force behind this whole affair, said this in an interview on Channel 2 last summer: “If these charges really are politically motivated, the court will throw them out.”
He probably didn’t think it would really happen, though.
BUT WHO IS BEHIND THE WEATHER CONSPIRACY?
It’s been a really unexciting weather day. Windy, cold, cloudy – not a redeeming feature, really. Except, well, I guess we could have had freezing rain but we did not. Always one to think positive, our YT. Current temps are Zero Centigrade and the sun came up at 08.06 and went down at 18.22.