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State Aid

State Aid: Investigation into aid to three Icelandic investment banks closed



Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority decided to close a formal state aid investigation into aid granted to three Icelandic investment banks due to their winding up and liquidation.

In 2009, the Icelandic Ministry of Finance concluded loan conversion agreements with three Icelandic investment banks, Saga Capital, VBS and Askar Capital. The measures in question were never notified to the Authority. In June 2010 the Authority received a complaint alleging that the three banks had recieved unlawful state aid. After assessing the measure and the submissions of the Icelandic authorities the Authority decided to initiate the formal investigation procedure because  the loan conversion agreements appeared  to be state aid which was incompatible with the EEA Agreement. Furthermore, the Icelandic authorities failed to comply with their obligation to notify the aid and not to put the aid into effect before the Authority took a decision authorising it.

During the course of the formal investigation, the Authority received no information which would suggest taking a different view.

However, after the Authority issued its opening decision the three banks have ceased all regular activities, they have been submitted to winding-up procedures and their operating licences have been revoked. Under these circumstances a decision by the Authority on the classification of the measures as state aid and on their compatibility with the EEA Agreement would have no practical effect. Therefore the Authority has decided to close the formal investigation procedure.

A public version of today's decision will be published on the Authority's website, normally within a month.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Trygve Mellvang-Berg
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
Mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

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