Panama Papers. Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigns

Icelandic Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson has resigned after a mass protest in front of the country’s Parliament and the unveiling of the Panama Papers.

17:52 – Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has resigned according to the leadership of the Progressive Party. After the strong pressure put on him by the Icelandic people following the Panama Papers scandal, Gunnlaugsson decided to resign from the position of head of the Reykjavik government.

The protest in front of the Icelandic Parliament

“Irate voters pelted the walls of the Icelandic Parliament with eggs and bananas, while inside fuming opposition MPs took the floor one after another to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister”. Icelanders’ reaction to Panama Papers’ revelations was not long in coming. As reported by the Iceland Monitor, thousands of people took to the streets in Reykjavik to protest and show their indignation.

An offshore company in the British Virgin Islands

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson appears in the documents revealing a huge network of offshore companies used in tax havens. According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the 4-year-old politician and chairman of the Progressive Party established – alongside his wife – an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands in 2007.

The company, Wintris, would have been used to hide millions of dollars. At a later time, Gunnlaugsson left the company to his wife, for a symbolic price of one dollar. When the incumbent President was elected for the first time in 2009, he omitted such assets in his official declaration: an unacceptable fact to Icelanders.   Moreover, Icelanders had already been affected by the collapse of their banks during the global financial crisis: lending institutions registered an exponential growth, with a following high risks, also thanks to politics’ blindness. Apparently, Wintris owned bonds in those banks, before their collapse.  

Left-wing parties call a vote of no confidence

In Parliament, the opposition called a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister. According to news agency AFP, the fact that Gunnlaugsson is responsible of tax evasion is not proven. However, politically, his position id judged as indefensible.

The politician, though, does not give in: he declared that neither he nor his wife has ever hidden money abroad, and that the both of them are up to date with Icelandic treasury. “I’m not going to resign due to these revelations,” he wrote on his website. However, during his speech in Parliament he said he was sorry for not having revealed the existence of the offshore company, but the chairman of the Left-Green Movement rejected his words by saying it’s too late to give explanations.

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