Estate of collapsed Icelandic bank says settles dispute with Qatari sheikh

REYKJAVIK Fri Feb 8, 2013 9:43pm GMT

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REYKJAVIK Feb 8 (Reuters) - The estate of a bankrupt Icelandic bank said on Friday it had settled a dispute with a Qatari sheikh which stemmed from a deal the sheikh made to buy shares in the bank just before it collapsed in 2008.

All three of Iceland's top banks collapsed under big debts when the global credit crunch struck in late 2008.

Weeks before the collapse, one of the banks, Kaupthing, announced that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar had bought 5.01 percent of its shares in a confidence-boosting move. But a parliamentary commission later said the shares were bought with a loan from Kaupthing itself.

The winding-up committee of the Kaupthing estate revealed for the first time in a statement on Friday that it had taken legal proceedings against the sheikh and subsequently settled with him.

It provided no details of the settlement with the sheikh nor why it had taken action against him. It said only that legal proceedings in Iceland against al Thani had been discontinued. "All other terms of the settlement remain confidential," it added.

No one at the committee was available to comment.

An Icelandic newspaper has reported the winding-up committee wanted to get back some of the loans made for the shares.

The parliamentary commission which investigated the banking meltdown said in April 2010 that Kaupthing lent money to companies owned by al Thani to buy the Kaupthing shares.