Thomas Bridge 05 February 2014

Councils recoup £1bn lost to Icelandic bank collapse

Around £1bn of cash tied up in failed Icelandic banks has now been recovered by local authorities.

Just under £1.05bn had been deposited by councils in four Icelandic banks at the time of their collapse in 2008.

Following the sale of most councils’ remaining claims against the former banks through a competitive auction, it is now thought these authorities will have recovered more than 90p for every £1 invested in Landsbanki (LBI), Glitnir, Heritable and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

Some £414m of council funds had been deposited with LBI at the time of the 2008 crash, with only £225m having been recovered prior to the latest auction.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), sale of the claims has eliminated the risk of any further loss of value through issues such as depreciation of the Icelandic krona against sterling.

Further work will now commence to identify which authorities have not sold their outstanding claims against LBI.

LGA chairman, Sir Merrick Cockell, said: ‘This settlement has enabled a number of councils to fast-track their recovery of money from LBI and avoid any risk of further loss.

‘From day one, we have always been clear in our determination that local government would fight to recover the lion's share of the money deposited in Iceland at the time of the crash

‘We can justifiably say that the tenacious efforts of local government working together to get this money back have paid off,’ he added.

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