Financial Times om Islendingene – “Norse code”

Norse code, By Henry Tricks – Financial Times

From the outside, the courthouse in Reykjavik’s cobbled main square looks more like a small Lutheran church than a house of justice. Its wooden doors are usually shut, but you are free to enter without knocking. Inside, the atmosphere is quiet, befitting a city that is so law-abiding mothers leave their babies in prams on the street to take fresh air. The courthouse rarely attracts attention, but on one day in August its marble hall was crowded with journalists awaiting the opening of a once-in-a-generation court case. During the long, insomniac days of summer, the case, with its intriguing insinuations about politics and wealth, had kept Iceland’s conspiratorial society – with a population so small its telephone directory is listed by first name – talking around the communal “hot pots” where Icelanders bathe. The focus of attention was Jon Asgeir Johannesson, who at 37 has already made a name for himself within Iceland as a dashing 21st century Rockefeller, and abroad as a retailing magnate involved in a number of buy-out deals on the British high street in the past two years.

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