Iceland’s ex-PM tells court he is innocent in financial crisis trial

The Associated Press
Posted March 05, 2012, at 9:06 p.m.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A former prime minister of Iceland on Monday rejected charges he failed to adequately protect his country’s economy from financial shocks, as he took the stand in the first criminal trial of a world leader to result from the 2008 financial crisis.

Geir Haarde said neither he nor financial regulators knew the real state of Icelandic banks’ precarious finances until they collapsed in October 2008.

“I reject all accusations and believe there is no basis for them,” Haarde said. He said it was the first chance he had to answer questions in the case.

Haarde became a symbol of the bubble economy for Icelanders who lost their jobs and homes after the country’s main commercial banks collapsed in the course of one week in 2008, sending its currency into a nosedive and inflation soaring.

Prosecutors opened the case at the Landsdomur, a special court being convened for the first time in Iceland’s history.

Part of their case hinges on a charge that Haarde failed to implement recommendations that a government committee had drawn up in 2006 to strengthen Iceland’s economy.

AIG sells AIA shares to pay $6B off US bailout tab

HONG KONG — American International Group Inc. is selling part of its stake in AIA Group Ltd. to raise $6 billion as it continues to repay the $182 billion government bailout that prevented the company’s collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

New York-based AIG plans to sell a “significant proportion” of its 33 percent stake in AIA, the Hong Kong listed company said Monday.

AIG confirmed late Monday that it is selling 1.72 billion AIA shares at 27.15 Hong Kong dollars ($3.50) each. That would raise about HK$46.7 billion ($6 billion).

The shares are being sold to institutional investors and the proceeds will be used to pay off money owed to the U.S. Treasury, AIG said. The sale is due to close Thursday.

The insurance giant teetered near collapse in 2008. It received $182 billion from the U.S. government — the biggest of the Wall Street bailout packages — after suffering massive losses from investments in derivatives.

Most of the rescue money went to pay the firm’s obligations to big banks.

AIG has been steadily paying back its debt and according to a government watchdog, owed U.S. taxpayers $50 billion as of Dec. 31. The government still owns about 76 percent of AIG.

Judge tells Stanford jury to continue deliberating

HOUSTON — A federal judge has told jurors to continue deliberating at Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford’s fraud trial after they indicated they’re deadlocked on at least some of the 14 charges against him.

Stanford is accused of bilking investors out of $7 billion in a massive Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner on Monday gave jurors in Houston an order meant to prod juries toward a unanimous verdict. A short time later, the jury ended work for the day. Deliberations are to resume Tuesday.

The jury has been deliberating since last Wednesday.

Defense attorneys say Stanford made money for investors who bought certificates of deposit from his Caribbean bank.

Prosecutors counter Stanford spent their money on failed businesses and a lavish lifestyle.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/05/business/icelands-ex-pm-tells-court-he-is-innocent-in-financial-crisis-trial/ printed on April 24, 2014