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Iceland ex-PM faces verdict in financial crisis trial backposted on Mon, 23 Apr at 12:14
Former Iceland Prime Minister Geir Haarde could on Monday become the first world leader sent to prison in connection with the financial crisis of 2008, as a verdict is due in his trial for negligence and mismanagement.
Iceland's banking system collapsed spectacularly that year, wiping out billions of dollars in savings.
Haarde was forced from office the following year, and was put on trial last month.
If convicted, Haarde could face a two-year prison term. He has pleaded not guilty.
The collapse of the banking system turned Iceland from one of the richest countries in the world to one that needed an International Monetary Fund bailout.
British and Dutch savers were among those affected by the banking collapse, and the two governments came up with more than $5 billion to bail out savers in their countries. A bitter dispute broke out when Britain and the Netherlands demanded that Iceland compensate them for the bailout, as required by the European Union directive.
The International Monetary Fund loaned Iceland $2.1 billion in November 2009, and said repaying the money to the British and Dutch governments was a requirement of the loan.
Iceland has now started to come out of its crisis. The IMF forecast growth of 2.5% for the island nation in 2012, and the ratings agency Fitch raised Iceland's long-term debt back to investment grade.