Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Iceland’s Prime Minister Resigns After Panama Papers Leaks

Via The Huffington Post:

Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson is to step down after leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm showed his wife owned an offshore company with big claims on collapsed Icelandic banks, his party said.

Gunnlaugsson became the first prominent casualty from the revelations in the so-called Panama Papers, which have cast light on the financial arrangements of an array of politicians and public figures across the globe and the companies and financial institutions they use.

Earlier on Tuesday, Gunnlaugsson had asked Iceland’s president to dissolve parliament in the face of a looming no-confidence vote and mass street protests over the revelations.

The deputy leader of his Progressive Party, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, told reporters the party will suggest to its coalition partners in the Independence Party that he should become the new prime minister.

With the fallout from the leaks reverberating across the globe, British Prime Minister David Cameron came under fire from opponents who accused him of allowing a rich elite to dodge their taxes.

And in China, the Beijing government dismissed as “groundless” reports that the families of President Xi Jinping and other current and former Chinese leaders were linked to offshore accounts.

Beijing also moved to limit local access to coverage of the matter. State media denounced Western reporting on it as biased against non-Western leaders.

The more than 11.5 million documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Among those named in them are friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the leaders of China, Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

The papers have caused public outrage over how the world’s rich and powerful are able to stash their cash and avoid taxes while many people suffer austerity and hardship.

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