Robert Steele has for some time been saying that “The truth at any cost lowers all others costs.” He has also been focusing on the importance of intelligence with integrity. Among all governments, only Iceland appears to be serious about dealing with the financial crisis as it should be dealt with: as a criminal conspiracy enabled by all of the parties in both public and private sectors who sacrificed their integrity and betrayed the public trust.
Corporations operate under public charters. It is difficult to police the corporations when the governments have themselves become criminalized, but the tide is turning — the public is beginning to recognize that governments lack integrity and intelligence and cannot be trusted — in their present form — to manage the public interest.
When Goldman Sachs goes out of business the healing can begin. Slamming PWC is a good start.
The subpoena is around 90 pages long, RÚV reports, and it claims that the misleading of markets about the strength of Landsbanki led to greater losses in the Icelandic financial crash than would otherwise have been the case. Landsbanki used PriceWaterhouseCoopers as its external independent auditors in the years before the crash.
The company is accused of having known about Landsbanki’s precarious position at the end of 2007, some nine months before it went under. It is also claimed that companies owned by Björgólfur Guðmundsson and his son Björgólfur Th. Björgólfsson, the largest owners of Landsbanki, were kept afloat with deception and overdraft loans.
The resolution committee calls into question how the bank’s 2007 report and its 2008 quarterly reports were presented. PriceWaterhouseCoopers is accused of having registered loans as much higher value and more secure than they actually were.
By the end of 2007 Landsbanki had loaned Eimskip, Icelandic Group, FL-Group and associated companies around ISK 200 billion. It is claimed that PriceWaterhouseCoopers auditors knew that the collateral behind those loans was generally either insecure or non-existent but decided, in collaboration with Landsbanki executives, to present the loans in quarterly and annual financial reports under false pretences.
If the independent auditors’ report had been accurate it is likely Landsbanki would have lost its operating licence at the end of 2007, it is claimed. In that event the collection of Icesave deposits in UK would have stopped and would never have begun in the Netherlands in spring 2008. The impact of the collapse would therefore have been smaller.
Resolution committee information officer, Páll Benediktsson, confirmed to reporters that the subpoena has been issued, but said little else. The case against PriceWaterhouseCoopers is set to hit the Reykjavík District Court on 21st June.