Sigur Rós Speak Out Against Iceland For Second Tax Evasion Trial: “They’re Treating Us Like Criminals”
Sigur Rós, Icelandic masters of majestic and otherworldly post-rock sprawl, have been dealing with some real-world problems in recent years. In early 2018 news broke that the Icelandic government was investigating the band for tax evasion. Although the band claimed it was a mistake by their former accountant Gunnar Ásgeirsson and they’d already repaid the missing funds, they faced official charges a year later to the tune of $1.2 million in evaded taxes from 2011 to 2014 before finally being cleared in late 2019.
But now Sigur Rós are facing a second trial in a separate Icelandic court, one the current and former band members say could leave them financially ruined and even jailed. The band says the second trial is a breach of European double jeopardy laws and the court is likely to impose a fine of at least 200% of the tax evaded. Bassist Georg “Goggi” Holm, former keyboardist Kjartan “Kjarri” Sveinsson, and drummer Orri Páll Dýrason — who left the band two years ago after being accused of sexual assault — all say they are thinking about leaving the country, following in the footsteps of singer and guitarist Jónsi Birgisson, now based in Los Angeles.
Speaking to The Guardian, Holm explained the group’s plight: “We are not denying that we did something wrong. We went out of our way to fix it, find out what happened and pay the money back. But now we are being taken to court for the same thing again. We are not above any law in Iceland, but the law is not correct. And we are speaking out because we have a platform to speak out.” Jónsi added, “We have spent years promoting the country; now they’re treating us like criminals.”
The policy of Iceland’s government is not to comment on ongoing cases.