Icelandic Insurer Exista HF Raided by Anti-fraud Agents

January 28, 2010

Law enforcement agents from Britain and Iceland searched the premises of Icelandic insurer Exista HF on Tuesday in a probe related to the trading of shares in other companies.

The company said Tuesday its offices in Reykjavik were searched by agents of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office and the Icelandic special prosecutor.

“The investigation of the special prosecutor (during this search) centers on the share increase in Exista in December 2008 and transactions related to shares Exista had in Bakkavor,” an Icelandic food company, Exista said.

“The Serious Fraud Office investigation is related to transactions with Exista shares in JJB Sports. The staff of Exista has and will help with the investigation.”

The Serious Fraud Office confirmed that its agents participated in searches in Iceland related to its investigation of JJB Sports, a British company. The Serious Fraud Office also confirmed that its agents and City of London Police conducted searches in London at the request of the Icelandic special prosecutor, but the companies were not identified.

Bakkavor, which deals in fresh prepared foods and produce, is owned by brothers Lydur Gudmundsson and Agust Gudmundsson, who also own Exista.

Exista formed a joint venture with Chris Ronnie, former chief executive of JJB Sports, to buy a 27 percent stake in the British company in 2007. Ronnie was suspended by the company a year ago after he disclosed that the joint venture had sold its stake.

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