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Updated: September 29, 2010 19:21 IST

Iceland votes to try former premier for financial meltdown

DPA
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File photo of Iceland's former Prime Minister Geir Haarde addressing journalists at the parliament in Reykjavik, Iceland. Haarde has been referred to a special court in a move that could make him the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis.
AP File photo of Iceland's former Prime Minister Geir Haarde addressing journalists at the parliament in Reykjavik, Iceland. Haarde has been referred to a special court in a move that could make him the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis.

Iceland’s former premier Geir Haarde says he is “disappointed” that parliament voted to try him for his role in the financial crisis that saw the North Atlantic nation’s major banks collapse in 2008, media reports said on Wednesday.

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted 33 to 30 to bring Haarde to trial in a special tribunal. Haarde’s conservative government collapsed in early 2009. A parliamentary commission recently accused him of negligence in connection with the financial crisis.

“These charges are a political riot and are close to political persecution. I have a clean slate and I will prove that,” Haarde told public broadcaster RUV. He welcomed the fact that lawmakers had voted against trying three other former cabinet members, including the former foreign minister and former finance minister.

The special tribunal consists of eight parliamentarians, six judges and a professor of law. It has never previously been convened. Haarde could face a maximum of two years in prison if convicted.

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