A Nice View, and Me Trying to Avoid Delving Deeper Into Our First Lady's Affairs

A view from Hallgrímskirkja 

Find the clump of trees in the lower left corner of this photo, and that's where I took the last post's cat pic. It's a shady corner of the the garden behind the Einar Jónsson Museum, a favorite spot for locals to ponder and chill, adults, kids and cats alike. As a matter of fact, the cat in the previous photo is one of four who live across the street, in the building with the red roof and all-glass corner 'penthouse.' They come across the street with their human, who enjoys
sitting in the garden in good weather while his feline friends meander through the foliage, entertaining and posing for tourists, which our beloved Míó used to love to do as well when we lived in the light blue-roofed building dead center of the photo above, just behind the top of the tall pine tree.

if you've been to the top of Hallgrímskirkja you'll recognize this scene, looking due-west over the Reykjavik city center and our Tjörnin town lake.  I really like this aerial view, though the northwest (no reference to Kim and Kanye's recent visit intended ; ) perspective in the photo from this 2005 post is much more frequently photographed.

But as I wrote after my last visit to the top of the tower in 2012, "locals' complacency" is a real thing that keeps so many of us, in whatever gorgeous and special place we live, from taking advantage of the sites and wonders that visitors seem to enjoy so much. Back then, four years ago, it was my son Óðinn who was celebrating his 6th birthday and wanted to go up, so we did. I took a shot towards the southeast, and then looking directly down at the decorative paving in front of the church, which out of context, very few people recognize. It's always nice to get a new perspective on things by changing your vantage point, and in this case it was my kid who reminded me to do it. He goes up to the top of the church tower every once in a while with his buddies from the 'hood, but I think it's time for me to take another trip up myself. After all, I only live a few hundred meters away : ) 

And now I have to admit that I'm rehashing older post material in a futile attempt to not go any farther into writing about politics as I've done in my past few posts. I have to, though, link to this 2001 interview with the recently deceased father, Shlomo Moussaieff, of our First Lady, Dorrit Moussaieff. I also really want to link to this  2006 article about "concentrated wealth" featuring Dorrit as the "owner of the eponymous shop [in London] and a legendary dealer of diamonds." In these articles Dorrit is portrayed as either a flighty party girl in deep with the international jet set, or one of the most influential diamond merchants in the world. I think the takeaway message is that she's both, depending on what angle you view her story from. 

In reality, it's her mother Alisa who is the "mastermind and driving force" behind the House of Moussaieff, a woman who has been running an extremely tight operation for half a century, a business where what you know and don't know at any given moment could make or break you. After all, the House of Moussaieff is purveying the rarest of gems to the most wealthy, powerful and dangerous people in the world. In that kind of company, you make very certain that nothing's going to come back to haunt you, or discredit you or your very exclusive clientele. 

But as the Reykjavik Grapevine recently disclosed, our president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson's wife Dorrit seems to have [update May 2: does have] connections to offshore accounts via Mossack Fonseca, as revealed in the Panama Papers. The power couple has unfortunately denied any knowledge of this. Ólafur actually went so far as to categorically deny any potential involvement in an interview with CNN's hard-hitting Christiane Amanpour only days before the disclosure. I say unfortunately, because it's nearly impossible for them to deny knowledge of Moussaieff Jewelers Ltd's dealings without at the same time admitting to not having performed the due diligence required of a head of state and the owner of "one of the most discreet and exclusive High Jewellery emporiums in the world." I'll put it this way: in their shoes, I'd have set my legal and accounting teams to the task of digging for any possible connection to Panama or other tax havens the minute the leak was made public. That they didn't, and were "surprised" by the revelation, smacks disingenuous. It doesn't help matters that Dorrit moved her legal residence back to London in 2012, a move which some find suspicious (tax evasion?) and which basically just leaves a bad taste in the mouths of plenty of others. 


Regardless, their story is just one more in what's turning out to be a whole lot of crumbling truths and bumbling in the affairs of our once-again inglorious leaders. It's true that any set of seemingly random factoids can be joined up and arranged to support any number of theoretical truths, so just humor me while I play connect-the-dots with regard to our increasingly bizarre involvement in the global game of wealth and power. Maybe, as one (repeat) presidential candidate, Ástþór Magnússon, claims, Dorrit's diplomatic immunity gives her the ability to move portable wealth in the form of diamonds around the world with total freedom, and maybe this whole affair between the House of Moussaieff and Iceland is a much more sordid scenario than anyone wants to imagine. Maybe it's all just as innocent as can be. Who knows. From where I'm sitting though, nothing would surprise me...

Truth comes in shades of grey...

2 comments:

Jono said...

"Locals' complacency" affects many of us who live where people want to visit.
As far as political figures go I think we win on points for most bizarre, but Iceland places well with overt corruption.

Iceland Eyes said...

That it does!