Icelandic PM resigns in wake of Panama Papers scandal

April 5, 2016 7:30 pm
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Iceland PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson had been under pressure to resign since leaked financial documents showed he and his wife owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands/AFP
Iceland PM Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson had been under pressure to resign since leaked financial documents showed he and his wife owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands/AFP

, REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Apr 5 – Iceland’s prime minister resigned Tuesday, becoming the first political victim of a mushrooming worldwide scandal over hidden offshore financial dealings exposed in the so-called Panama Papers.

Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was the biggest casualty of a worldwide media probe into 11.5 million leaked documents that purportedly reveal the offshore financial activities of 140 political figures, including 12 current or former heads of state.

Overview
  • "The prime minister told (his party's) parliamentary group meeting that he would step down as prime minister and I will take over," the Progressive Party's deputy leader Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told a live broadcast.
  • A series of other leaders and stars fingered in the leaked papers have hit back at the allegations, denying any wrongdoing despite the international furore.
  • Those named include Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates, Chinese President Xi Jinping's relatives, British Prime Minister David Cameron's later father and celebrities such as Argentine footballing great Lionel Messi.

“The prime minister told (his party’s) parliamentary group meeting that he would step down as prime minister and I will take over,” the Progressive Party’s deputy leader Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told a live broadcast.

A series of other leaders and stars fingered in the leaked papers have hit back at the allegations, denying any wrongdoing despite the international furore.

Those named include Russian President Vladimir Putin’s associates, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s relatives, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s later father and celebrities such as Argentine footballing great Lionel Messi.

Iceland’s leader had been under immense pressure after the papers, leaked from a Panamanian law firm, appeared to show that he and his wife Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir owned an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands and placed millions of dollars there.

Though the prime minister denied ever hiding money abroad, pressure on his government had mounted, with egg-throwing protesters gathering in the streets Monday and fresh demonstrations planned Tuesday.

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