Island gewinnt wichtigen Gerichts-Prozess in Banken-Affäre (28. Januar 2013)
von erst-kontakt @ 2013-01-28 – 21:34:35
Island ging heute als Gewinner im Prozess um die Wiedergutmachungsleistungen aus der einstigen isländischen Online-Bank Icesave (gehörte zur größten Bank Islands Landesbanki) hervor und wurde im Gerichtsbeschluss vom EFTA-Gerichtshof (EFTA = Europäische Freihandelsassoziation) mit Sitz in Luxemburg darin bestätigt den finanziellen Forderungen der hauptsächlich britischen und niederländischen Gläubiger nicht nachzukommen. Im Jahr 2008 kam die Bank im Zuge der Finanzkrise in heftige Turbulenzen und meldete im Oktober des gleichen Jahres Insolvenz an. Seither dauerte die rechtliche Auseinandersetzung an aus der nun Island als Gewinner hervorgeht und damit einen weiteren Schritt in Richtung Freiheit und Souveränität geht…
Hier der Original-Artikel (in englisch):
Iceland Wins Major Case Over Failed Bank
By ANDREW HIGGINS
BRUSSELS — Iceland won a landmark case at a European court, ending an acrimonious legacy from the collapse of its banking system more than four years ago.
On Monday, the court upheld the country’s refusal to promptly cover the losses of British and Dutch depositors who had put more than $10 billion in Icesave, the bankrupt online offshoot of a failed Icelandic bank.
In a judgment issued in Luxembourg, the court of the European Free Trade Association, or EFTA, cleared Iceland of complaints that it violated rules governing the protection of depositors drawn up by the European Union. While Iceland is not a member of the Union, it is bound by most of its rules, as a member of EFTA.
The case has attracted widespread attention because it touches on issues of cross-border banking that have been at the center of the European Union’s efforts to ensure the future stability of the region’s financial system. The Iceland banking collapse in 2008 — and the mayhem it caused far beyond the country’s borders — raised issues directly relevant to the 27-nation Union.
Monday’s court ruling in Luxembourg was a significant victory for Iceland. Unlike Ireland, Iceland declined to use taxpayer money to bail out foreign bondholders and depositors. This caused a bitter dispute with Britain, which used antiterrorism rules to take control of assets held in Britain by Icesave’s parent, Landsbanki.
In a recent interview with British television, Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, denounced Britain for its legal justification for seizing Icelandic assets. “We were there together with al Qaeda and the Taliban on that list,” he said. “We have not forgotten that in Iceland.” He referred to the maneuver as Britain’s “eternal shame.”
After the 2008 crash, the government tried twice to settle the Icesave debts. But the country’s voters, asked to approve settlement plans in two separate referendums, rejected the proposals. Foreign holders of bonds issued by Icesave’s corporate parent, Landsbanki, and two other failed Icelandic banks lost some $85 billion. Those losses were not at issue in the Luxembourg case, which involved only customers with bank deposits.
Iceland’s government, in a statement by its foreign ministry after Monday’s verdict, said Landsbanki had already paid out some $4.5 billion to Icesave depositors, covering nearly half of all initial claims by individuals, charities and others in Britain and the Netherlands. The ministry said the bank would eventually reimburse the rest.
“It is a considerable satisfaction that Iceland’s defense has won the day in the Icesave case,” the government said in its statement. The Luxembourg ruling, it added, “brings to a close an important stage in a long saga,” and “Icesave is now no longer a stumbling block to Iceland economic recovery.”
Iceland’s economy, which went into a nosedive after the banking crash, is now growing again. The credit-rating agency Fitch recently raised its rating of the country’s debt, noting that its ‘‘unorthodox crisis policy response has succeeded in preserving sovereign creditworthiness.’’
But the Icesave saga has clouded the recovery.
Icesave collapsed in October 2008 along with its parent, Landsbanki, and the rest of Iceland’s banking sector. Caught in the wreckage were some 350,000 people in Britain and the Netherlands who, lured by unusually high interest rates, had put their money in Icesave accounts.
The government protected the deposits of Icelanders who had money in failed banks by moving them into new, solvent versions of the banks. But it declined to cover the losses of foreigners with online accounts operated by Icesave, a move that prompted complaints of illegal discrimination to the court in Luxembourg.
The case against Iceland was bought by the Surveillance Authority of the European Free Trade Association and revolved around interpretation of a European Union directive requiring that deposits in European banks be covered equally by deposit guarantee systems. Britain and the Netherlands supported the case.
But the court, according to a statement summarizing the verdict, ruled that the directive on guaranteeing bank deposits did not oblige Icelandic authorities to ensure immediate payment to depositors in Britain and the Netherlands “in a systemic crisis of the magnitude experienced in Iceland.”
Iceland argued that all Icesave depositors would eventually get their money back, but that the government, confronted in 2008 with a total breakdown of the financial system, did not have the means to offer immediate payment of all claims. The court also cleared Iceland of complaints that it violated nondiscrimination rules when it protected domestic depositors by moving their accounts to solvent new banks but reneged on protecting foreign depositors in Icesave.
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