The Prime Minister of Iceland has resigned after it was revealed this week that he stored millions in secret offshore accounts, according to the Panama Papers leak.
Calls for Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson’s resignations reached a fever pitch this week after a massive leak of secret data, called the “Panama Papers” by the media, revealed that Gunnlaugsson possesses a secret trove of cash stashed in secret offshore bank accounts.
The BBC is reporting this morning that Iceland’s Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has resigned, effectively toppling Iceland’s interior government. Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson came under fire this week after the Panama Papers leak revealed his personal involvement in an offshore company, called “Wintris,” where Gunnlaugsson and his wife reportedly stashed millions of dollars in secret wealth.
The President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, declined to dissolve Iceland’s parliament, as requested by recently resigned Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson. But the Guardian and many other news outlets are reporting this morning that Gunnlaugsson is the first government leader to resign after being named in the Panama Papers leak.
Earlier this week, Iceland Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson — who resigned in disgrace just moments ago — walked out of an interview with Reuters reporters after being questioned about his involvement in stashing offshore cash in secret bank accounts, as alleged by the Panama Papers leak. The leak contains the private banking information of dozens of foreign heads of state, as Inquisitr has reported previously, including some of the United States’ closest allies.
According to the BBC, the Panama Papers leak contains information regarding private offshore bank accounts set up by secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca for a number of world leaders, including Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who resigned this morning over his involvement in the offshore banking scandal.
The people of Iceland called for Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson’s resignation with massive protests staged in the capital of Reykjavik, after the Panama Papers implicated Gunnlaugsson in the offshore banking scandal. Gunnlaugsson denied any wrongdoing, and stated earlier this week that he would not resign under any conditions. But after massive public pressure, and pressure from within his own government, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson confirms this morning that he has resigned, but will stay on as head of his political party.
Iceland’s Prime Minister’s resignation is the first high-profile resignation caused by the Panama Papers leak, but according to the Guardian, dozens of other government heads are under scrutiny from investigators, who began looking into the information contained in the Panama Papers leak earlier this week.
According to the BBC and numerous sources, a number of investigations have been launched by the governments of France, Austria, the Netherlands, and Australia into high profile government officials and their involvement in stashing cash offshore, as alleged by the Panama Papers. Iceland’s Prime Minister, some observers note, is likely the first of many to resign in the near future as a result of the Panama Papers leak.
The documents concerning the Icelandic Prime Minister, Gunnlaugsson, were released late Sunday night as part of a massive data leak from secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, who the Panama Papers allege stashed millions in offshore wealth on behalf of some of the world’s most high profile leaders, including the Prime Minister of Iceland, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, and the late father of United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron.
The controversy surrounding Gunnlaugsson’s involvement in the Panama Papers centers on an undeclared interest in his wife’s wealth, a portion of which was stored in an offshore tax haven in order to avoid paying taxes to his own government in Iceland.
[Photo by AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarsson, File]