For Immediate Release   16th February 2010

 

 

 LANDSBANKI GUERNSEY DEPOSITORS POINT FINGER DIRECTLY

AT GFSC AND DEPUTY TROTT

 

Landsbanki Guernsey depositors are bitterly angry and disappointed that their suspicions have been confirmed by yesterday’s news that the Winding Up Board for Landsbanki’s affairs in Iceland has rejected depositors’ claims under the bank’s parental guarantee. 

 

Depositors point the finger directly at the GFSC for allowing Landsbanki Guernsey to proactively advertise a parental guarantee within its jurisdiction which was clearly not worth the paper it was written on.

 

They also question the validity of the Chief Minister’s recent assurances that Landsbanki Guernsey depositors would be treated fairly by Landsbanki Islands’ Winding Up Board.  Perhaps it was a similar naivety on the Chief Minister’s part when earlier, he claimed to have dealt with Her Majesty’s Government when they told him they had Landsbanki Guernsey savers’ best interests at heart?  

 

The LGDAG argues that all of the aforementioned points strengthen its case further for an independent public inquiry, while possibly explaining why Guernsey’s Authorities continue to resolutely resist.

 

Despite UK and Dutch Governments and UK councils and charities negotiating preferential treatment ahead of individual savers such as those in Landsbanki Guernsey, the Chief Minister failed to secure parity in repayment for those depositors who placed their trust in Guernsey’s banking sector and saved in a bank wholly regulated by the GFSC.

The rejection read as follows:

‘The Winding-up Board has furthermore decided to reject the claim generally in every respect as it has not been sufficiently shown that:

Landsbanki Íslands hf. has given, or did in fact give, any kind of guarantee regarding the liabilities of Landsbanki Guernsey Ltd’.

Conversely, when all savers with Cheshire Guernsey were written to on 25th September 2006, they were told the following:

“For your comfort and security, Landsbanki has given an undertaking to honour all the obligations of Landsbanki Guernsey Limited”.

How and why did Landsbanki Guernsey’s joint Group Managing Directors and CEO’s Halldor Kristjansson and Sigurjon Arnason write to all savers with Cheshire Building Society with such a guarantee? Furthermore, the Guarantee was extensively used as a marketing tool in all the Bank’s literature as well as on its website and was thereby authorised and condoned by the GFSC.

 Neil Dickens, Chairman for the Action Group on Guernsey said, “Isn’t it about time the GFSC explained why they authorised such a worthless Parental Guarantee rather than continually stone-walling depositors and hiding behind their flimsy self-serving Foot Report?  This is in addition to the fact that Guernsey’s financial regulators did not insist on more conventional diversification of the bank’s assets?  More importantly, why was no due diligence carried out by the GFSC themselves to ensure that the guarantee was effective and legally binding?”

Matthew Dorman, Director of the LGDAG added, “It is time for us to see what the GFSC and Chief Minister have to say for themselves.  We have no desire to get into an ink war and be continually fobbed off.  It’s finally time for them to come clean and satisfy depositors in Landsbanki Guernsey as well as all Guernsey savers by means of a full independent Public Inquiry”.

Indeed the GFSC had nearly two months between 4th August 2006 when Cheshire Building Society agreed to sell its Guernsey operation “subject to receipt of regulatory approval in Guernsey and Iceland” (letter from Cheshire Guernsey Director to savers dated 7th August 2006) and 25th September 2006 when approvals had been obtained and the sale completed. 

It would seem that all Governments throughout the Western World have owned up to their short comings and attempted to make good savers’ losses in Icelandic Banks.  That is, all except Guernsey. 

Around 1,600 depositors, more than 90% of them British, had their hard earned savings on deposit in the Guernsey branch of Landsbanki when it collapsed in October 2008. At the time, Guernsey did not have a depositors’ compensation scheme in force. So far Landsbanki Guernsey depositors have received about 67.5p in the pound, unlike Landsbanki depositors in the UK and Netherlands, who received 100% of their money over a year ago.