Iceland Mag

6 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Crime

Jailed bankers accused of wanting to live in luxury behind bars

By Staff

  • The Kaupþing four The Kaupþing bankers serving time in Kvíabryggja prison have been accused of wanting to live a life of luxury behind bars. Photo/visir.is

The former Kaupþing bosses who are currently serving time in Kvíabryggja minimum security prison on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, in West Iceland, had arranged to take an expensive course on horse riding which was to start on Saturday. Prison authorities rejected the request and had the course cancelled.

Read more: 26 bankers already sentenced to a combined 74 years in prison

The local news site visir.is reports that the prisoners had ordered an extensive horse riding course which is offered by a private company in cooperation with the Icelandic Agricultural University. The course, which included both written assignments and practical training in a stables near the prison, was to start this past Saturday and continue until April 3. According to the sources of visir.is the course was very expensive, especially if it is organized for small groups.

Expensive private lesseons
Prisoners at Kvíabryggja prison can use the nearby grounds, including the stables, for supervised recreation. However, prison authorities denied the jailed bankers permission to organize this course for their private enjoyment. Páll Winkel, the director of prisons tells visir.is that this was a question of equity: “Well, we don’t want to deny prisoners the right to participate in educational activities, but we must always keep in mind that these are incarcerated people, and the issue of equity is a key principle in all of our work.”

Read more: Jailed bankers said to be living in luxury, causing frustration among fellow prisoners

Vísir.is reports the price tag for the course is well beyond the reach of average prisoners. The price tag, per participant, is reported to be 538,000 ISK (4,100 USD/3,800 EUR). Participants were also expected to bring their own horses and all necessary equipment. Páll also stresses that while prisoners are allowed to educate themselves, they cannot attend classes outside the prison.

Represented by a PR firm, rumoured to have requested wine with their dinner
The jailed bankers came under scrutiny earlier this fall when it was reported that unnamed prisoners at Kvíabryggja had requested to be allowed to drink wine with their dinner. A public relations firm, which handles the prisoners’ public image and communications while they are in prison, denied these rumours. This use of a PR firm by the jailed bankers has also caused considerable anger.

Páll Winkel told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service he has frequently been outraged when receiving letters from the PR firm, where he is instructed what to say or not to say: “PR firms have contacted me and told me to say a, b and c, or not to say a, b and c. And this just left me speechless.”

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