Iceland Ex-Premier Haarde Comments on Ruling in Crisis Trial

Geir H. Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, comments on being found guilty on one count in a trial probing his responsibility for the country’s economic collapse in 2008. He spoke in an interview in Reykjavik:

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“Look at the original indictment there were five substantive counts of the indictment, two of them dismissed and on three of them I’m found not guilty. The only remaining count of indictment is a formalistic one, having to do with how we discussed things at cabinet meetings. It has nothing, nothing what so ever to do with the origins of the financial crisis. Therefore in my view it’s ridiculous, the charge was ridiculous and the conclusion -- the verdict on this -- is also ridiculous. If you look at the six counts and if you look at the guilty verdict comes with no punishment and I’m awarded a big sum in legal fees, I can only say that I won this case easily and the people that brought the case, they lost it and they should think of what the political consequences for themselves should be. I think they should resign.

His role in the crisis:

“I don’t think that I have a particular role in the global financial crisis. Of course I was in charge of the government here when the global financial crisis hit. But it’s very difficult to establish causality or guilt on the part of one particular person. I don’t shy away from my responsibilities, but I have not committed criminal acts -- and that’s the important thing -- in the running of this country and in preparing things back in 2008. And I think this court outcome shows and confirms that, even though there’s this formalistic detail for which I was found guilty of without punishment.

On motivation:

“It was a political majority in parliament that brought this case forward. It later turned out that this parliamentary majority had shrunk -- there was no longer a majority. But through some parliamentary maneuvers, the new majority that had been created was not able to withdraw the indictment. The objective of those behind this political process was to discredit me, personally, and to hurt my political party in a way that it would never recover. This has not been successful, so much I can tell you.

On the European Court of Human Rights:

“It’s because I think the outcome of this one particular count is ridiculous, and I’m going to go over that with my lawyers; whether or not that’s a possibility that we should investigate.”

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