In 2008, Iceland’s three major banks imploded. The financial crisis threatened to take down the country’s entire economy. By May of this year, a trustee for one of the three failed banks, Glitnir Banki, decided to try and recover significant funds for creditors by filing a lawsuit. Nothing unusual about that, except for the fact that the $2 billion fraud suit was filed not in Iceland, but in state court in Manhattan.
The bank’s move was something of a risk, given that none of the parties were in the U.S. Defendants included the controlling shareholder, Jon Asgeir Johannesson, and his wife; former Glitnir Chairman Thorsteinn Jonsson; and other former Glitnir directors and indirect shareholders in Glitnir; and the bank’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers. (The July 2010 issue of The American Lawyer ran a story on the case.) And in the end, the strategy didn’t work out too well. Seven months after the case was filed, New York state court Judge Charles Ramos on Wednesday dismissed Glitnir’s claim on forum non conveniens grounds during oral arguments on a motion to dismiss.
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