Gerard van Vliet, leader of over 250 savers who had more than € 100,000 in the Icelandic savings bank Icesave when it collapsed 2 years ago, and Dadi Rafnsson investigative journalist from Iceland are working on a book about the Icesave-bankruptcy. Gerard is a member of the GlobalRisk community and he is interested to see your reaction to this discussion.

Gerard van Vliet himself is one of the victims of the collapse of Landsbanki branch Icesave. The Amersfoorter deposited a considerable sum for a project in Africa, in an account with the savings bank, shortly before it collapsed.

The Dutch state and Dutch deposit protection scheme eventually compensated savers for the first € 100,000, the rest they had to ‘save’ in Iceland as part of the bankruptcy of Landsbanki, the owner of Icesave.

Van Vliet is busy with this issue already one and a half year. Meanwhile he is battling with politicians and regulators in both Reykjavik and The Hague, as well as with the general public, which stamped him and his group as “rich bastards”.

The protracted battle supplied van Vliet with a wealth of information on which he collaborated with the Icelandic investigative journalist Dadi Rafnsson in a book which is about to be finished. The book comes out in both Icelandic and Dutch, and describes the failure of Landsbanki from different perspectives.

Van Vliet: "There is an enormous mass of information in Iceland, England and the Netherlands for the book intended. In some cases, anonymous sources, who do not want to be named. Partly because they would be branded as 'victims' in their  environment, partly because they themselves as "whistleblower" feel unprotected." 

"To understand how and why it is so easy that Icesave tragedy could happen, we look first to the circumstances in Iceland preceding the time of the collapse of Icesave, October 6, 2008. We are introduced to "The Dirty Thirty", the thirty people who were responsible for an unprecedented upturn in Iceland, at least on paper, and finally almost bankrupted that country. What were their motives, where they stood, how they are linked. "

Next to that van Vliet and Rafnsson make a trip to the obvious lessons already available, lessons that nobody wanted to see. Based on the large number of bankruptcies in the 80ties in America, now known as Savings & Loan crisis. Dozens went bankrupt by the greed of bankers.

The roots, the beginning of Icesave was in England, which started in October 2006. Promising, rapidly expanding at the unprecedented level of 5 billion pounds of savings and winning prize after prize as an innovative Internet bank. 

Share with us the surprise if you read that in 2007 there were already serious criticisms of Icesave and Iceland. Add to that withdrawal of one billion pounds of savings at Icesave in the period February-April 2008 (just before on May 29, 2008 Icesave in the Netherlands was launched) and the scathing criticism in the press on the operation of Landsbanki, "says van Vliet .

Van Vliet raises further questions as "Why did the DNB (Dutch Central Bank-Dutch regulator) not intervene? Could a bank run really have been avoided? "

Attention is also paid for the period after the collapse of Icesave. Where the relentless struggle of the Minister of Finance Bos, according to the authors manipulative, "it's € 1.3 billion to recover from Icesave is central. The money advanced to Iceland because it needed the money for their own Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS), the money for which an agreement is still missing.

The association of more than 250 Icesave savers victims battles to be recognised as “ordinary, hardworking savers” and not as the 'rich bastards'.

You can find their stories in the book as well as the stories of some Icelanders. The  Icesavers also battle for attention, recognition and support in the media, but especially in politics. They unable to get a foothold in Iceland where each judge has a ‘third’ cousin who was involved in the Icesave troubles.