Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, the Opposite of What America Does

Reykjavík, Iceland – In stark contrast to the record low number of prosecutions of CEOs and high-level financial executives in the U.S., Iceland has just sentenced 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison.


The majority of those convicted have been sentenced to prison terms of two to five years. The maximum penalty in Iceland for financial crimes is six years, although hearings are currently underway to consider extending the maximum beyond six years.

The prosecutions are the result of Iceland’s banksters manipulating the Icelandic financial markets after Iceland deregulated its finance sector in 2001. Eventually, an accumulation of foreign debt resulted in a meltdown of the entire banking sector in 2008.

According to Iceland Magazine:

In two separate rulings last week, the Supreme Court of Iceland and the Reykjavík District Court sentenced three top managers of Landsbankinn and two top managers of Kaupþing, along with one prominent investor, to prison for crimes committed in the lead-up to the financial collapse of 2008. With these rulings the number of bankers and financiers who have been sentenced to prison for crimes relating to the financial collapse has reached 26, and a combined prison time of 74 years.

Massive debts were incurred in the name of the Icelandic public to allow the country to continue to function, which are still being repaid to the IMF and other nations eight years later by the citizens of Iceland.

In the U.S., not a single banking executive was charged with crimes related to the 2008 financial crisis, even though the U.S. itself precipitated the crisis. Icelandic president Olafur Ragnar Grimmson summed it up best in his response when asked how his country recovered from the global financial crisis.

“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the people and didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”

In 2008, after Congress bailed out the failing American banks to the tune of $700 billion, courtesy of the American taxpayer, many of the executives of institutions that received TARP bailout funds ended up getting large bonuses.

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