You’re guilty of false accounting – now please walk free

Posted on

Accountancy Age has reported that:

A Reykjavik court has found J??n ?Ã…sgeir J??hannesson, the founder and chief executive officer of investment group Baugur, guilty of false accounting after a marathon five-year legal battle.

He was given a three-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of a charge of false accounting relating to a credit invoice for £296,771.

This is worrying for several reasons. First, it is indicative of the world wide indifference to executive crime, but this is the place where most crime takes place in the world when issues such as capital flight, tax evasion and the supply of corruption services are considered. Second, it suggests that with money you can get away with almost anything. The sentence is absurd. Third, as a leader in the private equity market it gives little confidence in the legal standards of Iceland. Finally, it suggests that a convicted criminal is running some major British companies. Baugur controls Hamleys toy store and House of Fraser department stores.

Perhaps the DTI will now consider banning him as a director of UK companies, but I doubt it.