A documentary about the beginning of the Central Bank case

Samherji today published a mini-documentary about the beginning of the so-called Central Bank case. The documentary, which Samherji produced, contains new and previously unpublished information about the case.

On March 27, 2012, the National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, aired an episode of Kastljós, a news magazine, that marked the beginning of the case. The program covered Samherji's alleged sale of redfish at a discount to its foreign subsidiaries. The story and statements made by the host, reporter Helgi Seljan, were all based on the "report from the Fresh Fish Price Directorate", as the audience was repeatedly told. The "report" in question was, therefore, the primary source for RÚV during the production of the episode.

It has now been revealed that the report was never prepared by the Fresh Fish Price Directorate which has confirmed this in a letter to Samherji. "I have reviewed all the documents in the case that at one time concerned the redfish investigation of the Directorate and contacted a former employee of the Directorate who investigated this case with me. No report was prepared," states an e-mail from a manager at the Directorate to Samherji April 4, 2020.

The above is covered in detail during the documentary Samherji produced, which can be viewed below.  The mini-documentary contains a secret recording of Helgi Seljan where he admits that he did not get anyone from the Fresh Fish Price Directorate to confirm that the institution had prepared the "report". He also acknowledges that he tampered with and altered the document.

"Naturally, I somehow tried to talk to these guys who were on the Fresh Fish Price Directorate. I never got anything out of them. Not even from Guðmundur whether they had received this report. I remember that's why I had to go through it and check it. Because I could not get anyone to confirm to me that the report was there. The data was such that I had to alter the report," Helgi Seljan is heard saying on the recording.

Samherji has had access to the audio recording for six years.  It was recorded by a former investigative police officer who was given the task of gathering information on the origins of the Central Bank case. The reasons why Samherji considers it appropriate to publish this information now are twofold. On the one hand, the government agency that was supposed to have prepared the report has confirmed it was never made. On the other hand, it is necessary for the public to know how the public watchdog, a journalist at RÚV, handles sources and documents, changes them and optimizes and adjusts news coverage at will. Thus, Samherji believes that the publication of the recording is in public interest.  

RÚV and Helgi Seljan's conduct has caused significant damage to individuals and companies. It is therefore essential that the public has knowledge of the information covered in the documentary.

The mini-documentary on the Central Bank cased can be viewed here. The documentary is currently only available in Icelandic without English subtitles.


For further information, contact:

Margrét Ólafsdóttir