First casualty of Panama tax evasion case: Iceland PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigns
Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson on Tuesday resigned — the first major casualty of the Panama Papers leaks which have shed an embarrassing spotlight on the world of offshore finance, BBC reported.
Reykjavik: Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson on Tuesday resigned — the first major casualty of the Panama Papers leaks which have shed an embarrassing spotlight on the world of offshore finance, BBC reported.
The leaks, from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed that Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company, Wintris, with his wife. He was accused of concealing millions of dollars worth of family assets.
"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 and Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told a live broadcast.
A big protest was held in front of parliament in Iceland on Monday. Dozens of high-profile global figures were named in the huge Mossack Fonseca leak.
Gunnlaugsson had earlier called on President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to dissolve parliament, but that was refused.
Grimsson said he wanted to speak to political parties first.
"I do not think it is normal that the prime minister alone ... should be given the authority to dissolve the parliament without the majority of the parliament being satisfied with that decision," the President told reporters.
Some observers describe his rejection of the prime minister's request as highly unusual.
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From Russia to China, and Britain to Iceland, the revelations of the "Panama Papers" have tarnished officials and the wealthy over the implication that they hide riches offshore.
The Munich-based newspaper said Mossack Fonseca's clients included "several players" in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, which saw senior US officials facilitate secret arms sales to Iran in a bid to secure the release of American hostages and fund Nicaragua's Contra rebels.
Iceland's prime minister on Friday called for a second snap election in less than a year after a party quit the coalition government