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Guernsey Landsbanki depositors unbowed by Iceland setback

Some 200 Landsbanki Guernsey savers are vowing to fight on in a quest to get all of their money back


“We have said right from the beginning that we are after 100% of our money back,” Gary Blanchford, deputy chairman of the Landsbanki Guernsey Depositors’ Action Group (LGDAG), said in an interview with the BBC, in which he also criticised the Guernsey government for failing to ensure that their depositors were treated on an equal footing with those in the UK and the Netherlands.

British Landsbanki depositors have had all of their savings returned while those in the Netherlands have had a significant proportion of theirs, he noted. The British savers were helped by a UK Treasury loan to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which is responisble for covering the first £50,000 lost by depositors.

“We’d like to learn exactly what Guernsey’s government has been doing over the last year for us,” Blanchford said in the BBC interview.

Apart from a trip last August to Iceland by Guernsey’s chief minister, which was followed by a brief statement in a local paper, “we have not heard a word from Guernsey’s government as regards what they are doing” to help the Landsbanki depositors, Blanchford said.

Application rejected

Blanchford’s comments came after the Winding Up Board – which is overseeing the return of Landsbanki depositors’ money – last week turned down an application by a sub-group of some 202 Guernsey Landsbanki depositors for a full return of their savings, and referred their case to a district court in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik.

The application was separate from the official recovery effort being made on the Landsbanki Guernsey depositors’ behalf by Deloitte, the Landsbanki Guernsey bank’s administrator.

The 202 savers involved in the case represent around 13% of the 1,600 who were left out of pocket when the Guernsey branch of Landsbanki failed in October 2008. They say they are unhappy with the 67.5% of their money they have received thus far, and note that the 85p to 91p in the pound that they have been told they “may” eventually receive could take years more to materialise.

Letter to Guernsey officials

Last week’s rejection of their case was the LGDAG’s second rebuff thus far this year by the Winding Up Board. It also came days after the LGDAG sent a letter to Guernsey chief minister Lyndon Trott and the Policy Council of the States of Guernsey, seeking an update of their efforts on the depositors’ behalf.

A Policy Council spokesman said he could not address the specific concerns of the LGDAG with a reporter ahead of a formal response to the organisation. He was, though, able to confirm that the Policy Council had "recently received correspondence on this matter from the Landsbanki Guernsey Depositors Action Group" and he said that the correspondence "will be responding directly, in due course".

As previously reported, Guernsey introduced a depositors’ compensation scheme after the collapse of Landsbanki Guernsey, but it is not open to the Landsbanki victims. It covers £50,000 per account, with a £100m cap in any five-year period.

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