Here is just a flavour of the views of some 261 London Daily Mail commenters about the Icelandic referendum. What these clearly show, nearly four years later, is that the banksters are misguided if they hold out any hopes that public anger at their grotesquely fraudulent behaviour is dying down. A search on media from other European nations (thanks to Google translate) reveals similar levels of rage from taxpayers.
Britain to sue Iceland for £3.5billion after country voted to reject plans to repay debt
By JASON GROVES Last updated at 8:32 AM on 11th April 2011
Britain will sue Iceland for £3.5billion after the tiny North Atlantic state voted in a referendum yesterday to reject plans to refund foreign depositors in its crippled banks.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the Government would launch legal action in Europe in a bid to claw back billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money it paid out to British investors following the collapse of the Icelandic bank Icesave in 2008.
And the UK could veto Iceland’s application to join the EU until it agrees to pay up.
Britain has been landed with a series of multi-billion foreign debts as a result of the financial crisis. It has also loaned Ireland £7billion, is liable for £3.5billion of the Greek bailout and is likely to face a further call for at least £4billion to bail out Portugal.
The move came after Icelanders blocked a second repayment deal, having overwhelmingly rejected another proposal last year. Early estimates suggested almost 60 per cent of voters said no to the package, which would have seen billions handed to the UK and the Netherlands.
Mr Alexander said: ‘It’s obviously disappointing. It seems the people of Iceland have rejected what was a negotiated settlement.
‘It looks like this process will now end up in the courts. There is a legal process going on and we will carry on through these processes. There is a very substantial amount of money involved – billions of pounds.‘We have an obligation to people who’d saved with those banks, we have an obligation now to get that money back, and we will continue to do that until we do.’
The Government is now expected to lodge a claim with the European Free Trade Association Court in Luxembourg, which could take years to resolve.
A banker sits outside the London head office of Icelandic bank Landsbankinn. More than £761m of British local authority cash was at risk after the crisis in 2008
Both Britain and the Netherlands are also likely to block Iceland’s bid to join the EU until their money is refunded.
Banking shake-up could force the sale of 1,000 branches
The row follows the collapse in October 2008 of Iceland’s main banks, including Landsbanki, which ran Icesave. Some 340,000 people in the UK and Netherlands had savings accounts with Icesave, which offered high interest rates.
But Iceland refused to pay compensation to foreign nationals, forcing the British and Dutch governments to step in and pay out billions of pounds in compensation to angry savers.
At one point, then chancellor Alistair Darling even used anti-terror powers to seize the UK assets of Icelandic banks, causing a major diplomatic incident. Dozens of British councils are still trying to get compensation from Iceland over reserves, estimated at £1billion, which were deposited with Icesave at the time of the collapse.
A warning from the icesave online bank in 2008 which stopped customers from withdrawing or despositing money
Yesterday’s referendum result reflects Icelanders’ anger at having to pay for the excesses of their bankers, and complicates the country’s recovery from its economic meltdown.
The decision will leave the Icelandic authorities facing higher interest payments on their own debts and could also jeopardise a £4billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The country’s disappointed prime minister Johanna Sigurdardottir yesterday said repayment terms eventually imposed by the courts were likely to be tougher than those rejected.
Its government said in a statement that the vote would not prevent Britain and the Netherlands pursuing Landsbanki directly, which could raise 90 per cent of the money owed.