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UK Treasury invokes anti-terrorism law to protect investors in Iceland bank

[JURIST] The British government on Wednesday froze nearly $4 billion in UK financial assets [Treasury press release; Daily Mail report] held by the failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki [corporate website], exercising its powers under the 2001 Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act [text]. One of the largest Icelandic banks, Landsbanki has enjoyed significant business from UK customers, including many local councils [BBC News list], through its British subsidiary Heritable Bank [corporate website]. Landsbanki was taken over [IHT report] by the Icelandic government Tuesday. BBC News has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

Iceland has been hit hard by the global financial crisis that has emanated from the US subprime mortgage market. On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a $700 billion financial rescue bill [JURIST report] intended to limit the effects of the crisis on the US economy and international markets. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated plans [press release] for a new economic stimulus package to "create jobs and address some of the most immediate consequences of the [Bush] Administration's serious mismanagement of our economy." Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) [official website], chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said in a statement [text] that the committee would continue to investigate regulatory oversight and seek solutions "strengthening the housing sector, developing a second stimulus package, and restructuring the regulation of the financial sector."

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