Iceland tycoons convicted of tax evasion

Iceland's Supreme Court on Thursday convicted the former heads of Baugur, an Icelandic group that invested heavily in British retailers and went bust after the nation's economic crash, of tax evasion.

In a case dating back to 2008, the ex-chairman of Baugur, Jon Asgeir Johannesson, his sister Kristin Johannesdottir and their former co-worker Tryggvi Jonsson were charged with tax evasion amounting to 2.4 million dollars ($1.8 million) from 1998 to 2003.

Johannesson was one of Iceland's most high profile business tycoons before the country's 2008 financial crash and has been embroiled in a number of lawsuits since the crisis unfolded.

The court handed Johannesson a 12- month suspended sentence and a fine of 62 million kronur (365,000 euros, $490,000), while Jonsson received an 18-month suspended sentence and a fine of 32 million kronur.

Johannesdottir, who headed the family┬┤s investment company which owned part of Baugur, received a three-month suspended sentence.

"All the defendants are found guilty of a major infringement of tax laws. In determining the penalty for their actions, the delay in the case proceedings has to be taken into consideration," the court said.

Baugur, which declared bankruptcy in 2009, held stakes in British retailers including luxury department store House of Fraser, frozen food retailer Iceland, fashion label All Saints, clothing store Oasis and toy store Hamleys among others.