Iceland PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson

Icelandic Prime Minister resigns after Panama data leak

Iceland’s prime minister, faced with massive protests calling for his resignation following revelations about him in the Panama Papers, stepped down Tuesday after President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson declined to immediately dissolve Parliament and pave the way for snap elections.

Ingi Jóhannsson, the minister of agriculture and fishing, told RUV, the broadcaster, that Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson had resigned as prime minister. The move still needs the approval of the prime minister’s coalition allies in the  Independence Party as well as the president.

Gunnlaugsson becomes the first victims of the Panama Papers, a day after he refused to step down following the release of the documents.

The documents from Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the leaks, allege Gunnlaugsson hid millions of dollars of investments in his country’s banks in an offshore company. Gunnlaugsson and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, bought the company in 2007, but he failed to declare his interest in it when he entered parliament two years later. The documents show Gunnlaugsson later sold half the company to his wife for $1. Owning a shell company is not in itself illegal, and indeed Gunnlaugsson has denied he broke any rules. But when asked in 2009 if he ever had an offshore company, he replied: “Myself? No. … Well, the Icelandic companies I have worked with had connections with offshore companies.”


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