Ex-World Leader Indicted Over Financial Crisis

Iceland's Geir Haarde says charge 'borders on political persecution'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2010 6:59 AM CDT
This is a Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008 file photo of Iceland's Prime Minister Geir Haarde, as he speaks at a press conference in Reykjavik.   (AP Photo/Arni Torfason)
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(Newser) – Iceland’s legislature has decided to file charges against the country’s ex-prime minister over his role in the financial crisis. After a contentious vote yesterday, lawmakers voted 33-30 to refer charges against Geir Haarde to a special court, the AP reports. That’ll make Haarde the first world leader prosecuted in connection with the financial crisis—and the first to ever be tried by the special court in Iceland, which has never before convened.

Haarde faces up to two years in jail if found guilty. “I will answer all charges before the court and I will be vindicated,” the 59-year-old said. “This charge borders on political persecution.” A report on the financial crisis—which was an unusually massive catastrophe for Iceland—accused Haarde, several other ministers, and the central bank of “gross negligence.” The legislature declined to charge any of the other ministers.

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