FACTBOX-What is the Icesave dispute all about?

April 7 (Reuters) – Icelanders will vote on Saturday on a
plan to repay around $5 billion to Britain and the Netherlands
to cover debts from the financial crisis, with popular backing
key to keeping an economic recovery on track. [ID:nLDE7340MJ]

The debt was incurred in 2008 when an Icelandic bank that
offered savings accounts in Britain and the Netherlands under
the name Icesave collapsed.

Following are some of the key facts on the dispute:

A DEAL DELAYED:

* Icelandic lawmakers backed a deal on Feb. 16 to repay the
$5 billion to Britain and the Netherlands for debts from the
banking crash, bringing the island closer to resolving a dispute
that has held back its recovery.

* However Iceland’s president triggered the new referendum
when he refused to sign the bill on Feb. 20 setting out the
terms of repayment that had been approved by parliament.

* It was the second time he called a referendum on a bill on
the issue. Icelanders overwhelmingly rejected an earlier deal in
a March 2010 vote.

* The government and economists say solving the Icesave
issue will help Iceland get back into financial markets to fund
itself, an important step towards lifting capital controls
imposed in 2008 to stabilise the crown currency.

* A financial rescue programme, led by the International
Monetary Fund, runs out this year.

* The EFTA Surveillance Authority, a European trade body
overseeing Iceland’s cooperation with the European Union, warned
Iceland in May 2010 it should pay up or face possible court
proceedings.

* Moody’s said in February that Iceland’s sovereign credit
rating could be downgraded if its voters reject the new plan to
repay the debts.

* Iceland started EU accession talks last summer. Solving
the dispute is seen as an important step in attaining
membership.

* With the Icesave issue solved, fishing rights will become
the main stumbling block to EU entry.

HOW THE DEAL MAY WORK:

* The draft deal has an estimated cost to Iceland of around
47 billion Icelandic crowns ($415 million). The bulk of the
repayment is expected to come from assets recovered from the
collapsed bank.

* Iceland’s negotiators and the winding-up committee of the
Landsbanki estate estimated they would recover at least 86
percent of the total $5.2 billion debt, the finance minister
said.
* The deal will be final once Iceland’s parliament and
president approve.

THE COLLAPSE:

* Iceland’s banks expanded aggressively overseas during the
global credit boom, taking their balance sheets to almost 11
times the island’s annual economic output, and became an emblem
of the decade’s excesses when the bubble burst.

* All three of Iceland’s top banks collapsed within days of
each other when global credit dried up in 2008, leaving them
unable to sustain their heavy debt burdens.

* Iceland took over the banks’ domestic operations and
compensated Icelandic savers for lost money, but savers in other
countries with Icelandic accounts were left out in the cold.

* Around 400,000 saves in Britain and the Netherlands had
accounts with Icesave when it collapsed.

* Britain and the Netherlands compensated individual savers
who lost money in full. Iceland agreed to pay this money back to
the two countries, but settling the terms has proved tough.

DEBTS:

* Iceland owes Britain a maximum of 2.35 billion pounds
($3.75 billion) and the Netherlands 1.2 billion euros ($1.7
billion) plus interest. The final amount depends on how much
money is recovered from the sale of assets owned by Landsbanki.
Iceland has said the assets may cover all or nearly all the
claims.
(Writing by Stockholm Newsroom; Additional writing and editing
by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

FACTBOX-What is the Icesave dispute all about?