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Viewing cable 09REYKJAVIK227, ICESAVE VOTE DELAYED AGAIN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09REYKJAVIK227 2009-12-30 16:04 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXYZ0046
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0227 3641611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301611Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4247
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000227 
 
SIPDIS 
 
TREASURY FOR NORTON 
NSC FOR HOVENIER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON IC
SUBJECT:  ICESAVE VOTE DELAYED AGAIN 
 
REF: Reykjavik 219 
 
1. (U) The Icelandic parliament was expected to vote on the Icesave 
bill on December 30; however, new information emerged on the eve of 
the vote that may further delay a resolution to the issue.  The 
media is reporting that the Icelandic negotiating team, which 
concluded the original Icesave agreements in March with the British 
and Dutch governments, may have withheld pertinent information from 
the Icelandic Government.  Specifically, the negotiating team did 
not pass along an opinion from the British law firm Mishcon de Reya 
stating that the British Government may have improperly seized a 
British subsidiary (Heritable Bank) of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki 
as the financial crisis hit Iceland in early October 2008.  Some are 
now arguing that, had the Icelandic Government been aware of this 
information, it could have pressed for better terms in its 
negotiations with the British and avoided much of the ensuing 
displeasure with the Icesave agreement. 
 
2. (U) The chairmen of the opposition parties were disturbed that 
this information was only coming to light now and insisted that they 
receive additional time to analyze this new development.  They also 
demanded that the head negotiator who withheld the information, 
Svavar Gestsson, be summoned to a Budget Committee meeting to 
explain his actions.  Parliamentary debate on the Icesave bill was 
expected to conclude on the morning of the 30th with a vote shortly 
thereafter, but discussions only resumed in the late afternoon after 
a delay of several hours.  With just nine parliamentarians left to 
speak, some still believe that a vote on the Icesave issue is 
imminent, while others think it will not take place until after the 
new year. 
 
3. (U) Approximately 100 protestors gathered outside of the 
parliament building on December 30 for a previously scheduled 
protest against the Icesave vote.  The demonstration occurred 
peacefully and no police intervention was needed.  There are reports 
that additional demonstrations are organized for the upcoming days. 
WATSON