Iceland. The actions of the large Icelandic finance
companies aroused debate in Europe during the year.
According to Swedish calculations at the end of the summer,
Icelandic financial players such as Kaupthing Bank, the
retail group Baugur et al. bought companies for the
equivalent of SEK 67 billion, mainly in the UK but also in
Scandinavia. The scope was considered remarkable given the
constraints of the Icelandic economy. Scandinavian experts
warned of a "card house effect", as the purchases resulted
in extremely high lending by Icelandic banks. In addition,
rumors flourished that Icelandic capital was partly based on
the Russian mafia's money laundering, accusations that were
rejected by those concerned.
countryaah, several major financial players in the country had
problems with justice. A fraud trial against Baugur's owner
and CEO Jˇn ┴sgeir Jˇhannesson got a lot of attention during
the year, but the prosecution was dropped. The Baugur chief
claimed that the allegations were politically motivated, and
a newspaper owned by him revealed emails that appeared to
show that well-known politicians within the ruling
Independence Party had acted against Baugur.
Independence Party leader DavÝ Oddsson decided in
September to leave the policy to become head of the Central
Bank of Iceland. Davi Oddsson had long dominated Icelandic
politics, among other things. under 13 as prime minister. He
had then also been involved in an almost personal feud with
Bobby Fischer, the controversial US former world champion
in chess, received Icelandic citizenship during the year. He
was thus released from Japanese detention and escaped
extradition to the United States, where he was wanted for
breaking the boycott against Yugoslavia by playing chess in
Belgrade in 1992. Fischer won the World Cup title of Soviet
chess player Boris Spasskij in ReykjavÝk in 1972.