On Saturday October 19,
the Icelandic government's executive committee on
privatization, which operates out of the prime minister's
office in Reykjavik, announced its decision to sell 45.8% of
The stake in the country's second-largest commercial bank is
set to go to Samson Holding, an investor group whose board
comprises three wealthy Icelanders who made their fortune in
brewing in Russia: Björgólfur Thor Bjorgolfsson,
his father Björgólfur Gudmundsson and their
long-standing business partner, Magnus Thorsteinsson.
There are a small number of people in Iceland who question -
quietly, given their wealth and influence - whether the father
and son are suitable choices to control such a big stake in
such an important component of the Icelandic economy.
Outside Iceland, Landsbanki is mainly familiar to
international bond investors and banks that have helped fund
its loan growth in recent years.
It has an operation in Guernsey. And its biggest
international move was the...