3 Jan 2010

Petition against payment to foreigners

1:12 pm on 3 January 2010

Almost a quarter of voters in Iceland have signed a petition against a bill to repay money lost by foreigners when an Icelandic online bank collapsed.

The petition urged the president to veto the legislation and called for a referendum on the issue.

Parliament this week approved the bill to reimburse €3.8 billion lost by Dutch and British savers when the Icesave scheme failed in 2008.

Many taxpayers say they are being made to pay for the bank's mistakes.

The BBC reports the compensation amounts to about €12,000 for each person on the island (population 320,000).

A poll taken in August suggests that 70% of Icelanders were against the deal.

More than 56,000 - about 23% of Iceland's voters - signed the petition urging President Olaf Ragnar Grimsson not to sign the bill.

Icesave - the internet arm of Icelandic bank Landsbanki, which offered high interest rates - failed in October 2008.

The BBC reports the money represents 40% of the country's GDP. Payments will be staggered until 2024.