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 their 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 contrast to the U.S., Iceland has chosen to hold the criminals that manipulated their financial system accountable under the law.
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.
While Iceland has prosecuted those that caused their financial crisis, America has done the opposite. In 2008, after Congress bailed out the failing American banks to the tune of $700 billion dollars, courtesy of the American taxpayer, many of the executives of institutions that received TARP bailout funds ended up getting large bonuses!
The prosecution of the Icelandic banksters represents an accountability that does not exist in the United States of America. It seems clear that the financial “Masters of the Universe” are the ones that truly control the political apparatus in the U.S., making it obvious there is no one who is going to hold them accountable for manipulating and crashing the financial markets.
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Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and maany other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu