Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Iceland Prime Minister quits over Panama Papers tax haven scandal

Siobhan Fenton

The Prime Minister of Iceland has resigned after the Panama Papers revealed that he has been using an offshore firm to allegedly hide investments worth millions of pounds. 
Yesterday, thousands of locals surrounded the Icelandic parliament to demand Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson’s resignation. Many claimed that the politician had lost the public’s trust after it was revealed that he and his wife owned a company linked to the Panama Papers scandal. Opposition parties had called for a vote of no confidence against the politician. He initially denied any wrong doing following the revelations but reportedly resigned this afternoon amid growing pressure.
The Panama Papers are a huge cache of leaked files which name individuals allegedly linked with a law firm which specialises in shell companies for the purposes of avoiding tax payments. 
Mr Gunnlaugsson is one of dozens of leaders of former leaders around the world to be named in the documents. There is no suggestion that he has acted illegally by his involvement in the scheme. However, critics have suggested that it amounts to a conflict of interest. The documents suggest that while Mr Gunnlaugsson was overseeing negotiations with the creditors of Icelandic banks, his company was owed considerable sums from their bankruptcies. 
Gunnlaugsson has denied any wrongdoing.
He has said he and his wife have paid all their taxes and done nothing illegal. He also said his financial holdings didn't affect his negotiations with Iceland's creditors during the country's acute financial crisis. 

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