- The prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, has officially resigned from office.
- The Iceland PM is the first high profile politician to fall in the wake of the massive Panama Papers leak.
- Gunnlaugsson was found to have ties with a company that had stakes in several banks that he helped bailout with public funds.
- The leak also revealed Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron among others.
The first victim of what could be many.
The Panama Papers have claimed their first high-profile victim: the prime minister of Iceland.
Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned just two days after a massive leak of documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed that he owned an offshore company with his wife, which prompted accusations that he was hiding millions of dollars in family assets.
The global scandal has ensnared several high profile leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose close associates hid money offshore. British Prime Minister David Cameron too has been questioned about his ties to Mossack Fonesca after the hack revealed that his father ran an offshore fund that avoided paying taxes in Britain.
Protestors staged a big demonstration in front of parliament in Iceland on Monday, calling for Gunnlaugsson to step down.
It wasn’t just Gunnlaughsson’s ownership of an offshore company that angered Icelanders; what really stoked their rage was Wintris’s significant investments in the bonds of three Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis of 2008. The prime minister had been involved in talks to determine the banks’ future in what some Icelanders deem a blatant conflict of interest.
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Gunnlaugsson did little to quell the controversy when he stormed out of a television interview after being questions about the offshore company earlier this week. He also asked President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to dissolve parliament and call early elections, but Grimsson refused.
European news organizations reported that the prime minister obliged protestors’ demands midday Tuesday. It’s rumored that Iceland’s agriculture minister will be his replacement.