Haarde Verdict This Monday

17.4.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
The verdict in the trial of former prime minister Geir H. Haarde will be made this Monday at 14:00, RÚV reports.

Parliament voted in 2010 to charge Geir with negligence and mismanagement in the time leading up to the economic collapse of 2008. An investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Commission (SIC) came to the conclusion that Geir was at least partially at fault, depicting Geir in its report as both hopelessly out of the loop when it came to financial matters, and terrified of then Central Bank chairman Davíð Oddsson, who was at one time the chairman of Geir's political party, the Independence Party.

Just months after parliament narrowly voted to press charges against Geir, a conservative-led proposal called for the trial to be dropped. However, this proposal was defeated, and the trial was scheduled to proceed as planned. The trial began on March 5.

Since then, both the prosecution and the defence have focused on two major issues: the size of the banks shortly before the collapse and Icesave. Haarde's defence attorney, Andri Árnason, argued that Haarde was never made aware of the inner workings of the country's banks, and even if he were privy to such information, there is nothing he could have done to prevent the 2008 collapse. Prosecuting attorney Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir, on the other hand, pointed out that the law is very clear regarding the responsibility of the prime minister - when the true extent of the crash to come was made clear, Haarde still chose to do nothing.

If found guilty of negligence and mismanagement, Haarde faces up to two years in prison.

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