Frequent Guest Lounger Lee Buchheit was in the news this week for his role in negotiating what may, or may not, be a final resolution to the Icelandic banking crisis – recall that Icelanders defeated the last proposal in a referendum last March. Wow, doesn’t the Icelandic crisis seem like a million years ago? This BBC article and this Wikipedia page provide a refresher – the case is really quite fascinating.
Iceland, the Netherlands and the UK have completed the latest draft of a deal to settle the ongoing Icesave dispute. Initial reaction to the deal is largely positive, although the Icelandic parliament has yet to vote on it.
The leader of the Icelandic negotiators, the American lawyer Lee Buchheit, began his introduction to the deal by saying that the main question the negotiators faced was how to make a payment contract for a debt if one will not know the final amount for several years. . . .
Initial reaction to the contract in Iceland seems to be positive and there is little doubt that the deal is better than the one rejected by voters this March. Credit for the new deal will inevitably be split. Some will laud President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson for vetoing the last contract and forcing the countries back to the negotiating table. Finance Minister Steingrimur J. Sigfusson will have reason to be proud of himself if the deal comes into force, as his position on Icesave has been consistent throughout and the time and patience he has invested in the dispute could well come to symbolise his political career. Finally there is Lee Buchheit, the American lawyer appointed by Sigfusson to lead the Icelandic delegation in the latest round of talks. His rational and hard-headed attitude have likely been seminal in the creation of the latest draft. (emphasis mine)