Iceland's Ex-PM In Clear Over Bank Collapses
Iceland's former prime minister has been found guilty on a charge relating to the collapse of the country's banks in 2008 - but cleared of three charges.
Geir Haarde, 61, who is the only world leader to be prosecuted over the global financial crisis, has escaped punishment.
The charge on which he was convicted by a special court of impeachment was of failing to hold Cabinet meetings as the meltdown loomed.
"It is absurd," Haarde told reporters after the verdict, which was broadcast live on TV.
"It is obvious that the majority of the judges have found themselves pressed to come up with a guilty verdict on one point, however minor, to save the neck of the parliamentarians who instigated this."
There is anger in Iceland that although a number of senior banking executives have been charged, none has been put on trial.
Icelanders took to the streets during the crisis, staging noisy and sometimes violent protests outside parliament in the capital Reykjavik.
Sky News correspondent Rachel Younger commented: "The verdict on the former prime minister is unlikely to heal many wounds in a small country that quickly became emblematic of a global crisis.
"Some Icelanders believe Geir Haarde was made a scapegoat for the failings of those who ran the banks, particularly after a special commission into the crisis found top government officials had not been negligent.
"The decision of the Landsdomur, the special court in Reykjavik, not to punish Mr Haarde will have been carefully noted both there and around the globe.
"Other politicians who found themselves presiding over similar meltdowns elsewhere may well breathe a sigh of relief at the verdict."
Iceland's biggest banks were all taken over by the state after the credit crunch, sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The banks' domestic operations were ring-fenced but their international operations were allowed to go under.
Britain and the Netherlands are still in dispute with Iceland over refunds for depositors in Landsbanki, many of whom lost huge sums.