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Former Icelandic Prime Minister Goes On Trial Over Financial Collapse

Former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde
The trial has opened in Iceland of former Prime Minister Geir Haarde on charges of negligence over the 2008 financial crisis that devastated Iceland's economy.

The country's three main banks collapsed within weeks during the crisis, throwing the country into deep recession.

Haarde has denied any wrongdoing and rejects the charges as political persecution. He led Iceland from mid-2006 to early 2009 when his coalition was ousted amid a public uproar over the crisis.

Iceland's banking collapse also caused a row with Britain, when the government refused to guarantee that British customers of the failed Icelandic banks would be compensated for the loss of their savings.

Haarde went on trial on March 5 in a new special court in Reykjavik that was established to try former and current ministers.

With reporting by AP and AFP