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Sfo To Investigate Possible Criminal Intentions In Iceland's Collapsed Banks

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The Serious Fraud Office is sending a team of investigators to Iceland to help "get to the bottom" of whether there were any criminal intentions in the country's collapsed banks, which had extensive links with London.

It follows meetings in London between Richard Alderman, director of the Serious Fraud Office, and Olafur Hauksson, Iceland's special prosecutor, about events leading to the failure of Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir.

The Icelandic banks, which had large customer bases in the UK, failed last October leaving 300,000 British savers unable to access their money and institutions nursing billions in losses.

Following the crisis, the Treasury had to pay out £7.5bn to compensate UK savers, although £2.3bn of this will be repaid by Iceland over the next 15 years.

The SFO's interest in the banks is likely to prove embarrassing for the bank's London advisers and its high-profile banking clients – although there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing.

A number of high-profile British investors, including property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz, retail investor Kevin Stanford, were among both Kaupthing's biggest borrowers and directors of its largest shareholding institutions.

Allegations of fraud, embezzlement and market manipulation have been under investigation in Iceland since February. But the SFO has separately been gathering intelligence on the Icelandic banking sector and its UK operations both involving investors and borrowers, which intensified after the leak of Kaupthing's loan book on to the internet last month.

The SFO also met yesterday with Eva Joly, a French corruption expert and judge brought in as a consultant to the Icelandic government, who believes that the criminal investigation is likely to be the biggest Europe has ever known. More than 30 house searches have been conducted in Iceland and 60 people hauled in for questioning.

But Ms Joly said the FSA and other British authorities must also bear some shared blame for failure to regulate the Icelandic banks properly.

"The UK in my opinion has a responsibility for not controlling Icelandic banks, like Icesave, that were operating here," she said. "They were given some warnings about the banks and they did not do anything. This to my mind has been very harmful."

If the SFO is investigating then we can rest assure it will be a hugely expensive investigation resulting in no prosecutions.

So did the SFO fancy a holiday in Iceland?

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Perhaps they could stop off at the Bank of Scotland's gaff on the way............Oh and Goodwin's old place. Kill 3 birds with one subpeona.

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The Serious Fraud Office

The problem is I can't take the Serious Fraud Office seriously. Maybe it was the spectacle of seeing Goodwin and co butt fu8cking the system under their noses and walking away with millions. Does anybody really believe that there was no realisation at the top of just how worthless some of the stuff they peddled really was?

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