13 Apr 2010

Iceland authorities 'negligent' over banking collapse

1:33 pm on 13 April 2010

A report in the Icelandic banking crisis has found that some of the country's leading figures, including the Prime Minister, were guilty of negligence.

The scathing 2000-page report says more should have been done to limit the damage to Iceland of the collapse of its biggest banks in October 2008, the BBC reports.

The Special Investigation Commission report, commissioned by the Icelandic parliament, said there is evidence of possible insider trading by key Icelandic investors.

It found that money had been withdrawn by insiders only days before the banks went bust. The matter has been referred to Iceland's prosecution service.

The collapse of the banking system was already inevitable by the end of 2006, the report said. In the seven years leading up to the crisis, Icelandic banks grew 20-fold in size.

The Icelandic financial services regulator was overwhelmed by the growth. It was understaffed and lacked experience and did not use the legal powers available to it, according to the commission's presentation.

Authorities should also have made sure UK Icesave depositors were insured by the UK, saving Iceland nearly Stg 5 billion.