Date
19 October 2017
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson is the first casualty of the Panama Papers leak. Photo: AFP
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson is the first casualty of the Panama Papers leak. Photo: AFP

Iceland PM resigns over Panama Papers

Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned Tuesday, the first casualty of leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm that have shone a spotlight on the offshore wealth of public figures worldwide.

The Panama Papers showed the premier’s wife owned an offshore company with big claims on Iceland’s banks, an undeclared conflict of interest for Gunnlaugsson, infuriating many citizens, who hurled eggs and bananas in street protests calling for him to step down, Reuters reported.

The banks collapsed as the global financial crisis hit in 2008, and many Icelanders blame politicians for not reining in the lenders’ debt-fueled binge and averting a deep recession.

The more than 11.5 million documents leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca have caused public outrage over how the world’s rich and powerful are able to stash their wealth and avoid taxes while many people suffer austerity and hardship.

Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore companies, denies any wrongdoing.

Among those named in the documents are friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the leaders of China, Britain and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

Gunnlaugsson quit ahead of a planned vote of no-confidence, hours after asking the president to dissolve parliament.

Any new election could bring victory for the anti-establishment Pirate Party, which opinion polls have found to be the most popular in Iceland.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC/FL

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe