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January 19, 2012

Geir Haarde, Iceland’s ousted leader, awaits trial over role in financial crisis

“The first world leader to face criminal charges related to the financial crisis, he has seen his face plastered in print across the globe, not in flattering profiles but in stories weighing whether he deserves blame for an entire country’s economic collapse.”

“Haarde is on trial for what he didn’t do, rather than what he did. In a matter of weeks a special court created to prosecute high-ranking government officials but never before convened in Iceland’s history is scheduled to decide whether he deserves up to two years in prison for failing to take proper action to avert financial catastrophe.”

“In late 2008, as a credit crunch swept the globe, Iceland’s once-thriving banks folded under the weight of their massive and risky financial bets. The country’s currency collapsed. Thousands of furious citizens protested in the streets, demanding accountability. They kicked Haarde out of office and swept his party, the Independence Party, from power. Haarde, who has an economics degree from Brandeis University and a master’s from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, had spent decades rising through the political ranks, only to leave in disgrace.”

Read the full story here.

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