Olafur Ragnar Grimsson


May 28, 2022

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (born 14 May 1943 in Ísafjörður) is the Fifth President of Iceland, serving from 1996 to 2016. He was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.


Ólafur began his political career in the Central Progressive Party, but later moved to the Left People’s Union. He served as President of the League of Nations from 1987 to 1995 and as Minister of Finance from 1988 to 1991. In December 2009, the Icelandic Parliament, Allting, approved compensation of € 3.8 billion for Britain and the Netherlands from funds lost following the collapse of Icesave. The president exercised his veto and ordered a referendum in March 2010 in which the compensation fell. In December 2010, a new agreement was approved, under which Iceland will replace the funds between 2016 and 2046 with an interest rate of around 3%. On 20 February 2011, Ólafur again exercised its right of veto. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was disappointed. 72-year-old Ólafur no longer intended to run in the presidential election on 25 June 2016, but when Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and two other ministers were caught in tax havens due to a Panama leak, Ólafur announced his candidacy. He justified his candidacy by saying that "extraordinary events require a balance to be struck by the Icelanders." The prime minister asked Ólafur to disband the government and Allting. For the first time in Iceland’s history, the president refused a request to dissolve the government, but said he wanted to negotiate with the leaders of other major parties first. It was finally decided to hold early parliamentary elections in the fall of 2016, but the prime minister continued as leader of his party, despite his unofficial resignation as prime minister.25. April 2016 revealed that Ólafur himself had links to tax havens, although he had denied it in an interview. The name of Ólafur’s wife Dorrit Moussaieff was mentioned in Panama papers. Moussaieff’s family business, Moussaieff Jewelers Limited, owned part of a tax haven company registered in the British Virgin Islands. According to The Reykjavik Grapevine, the financial statements reveal the links between the companies from 1999 to at least 2005. Ólafur has not yet had to resign, but has decided not to run for office. He has denied any wrongdoing.


Ólafur has been married twice. His first wife, Guðrún Katrín Þorbergsdóttir, died of leukemia in 1998. In May 2003, he married Israeli-born Dorrit Moussaieff. Moussaieff is another foreigner who has been married to the President of Iceland; the wife of President Sveinn Björnsson was Danish.


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