One of the biggest news to break for the year 2016 is the Panama papers. Confidential in nature, these papers have caused havoc in the world. A total of 12 national leaders have been mentioned in these papers, while a further 143 politicians and their family members have been pointed out in these leaks. People are calling for their leaders to justify or resign over these controversial ownership of offshore companies. Amongst the national leaders mentioned in these papers is the name of Prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.
He immediately resigned from his position on 5th April, two days after the leaks surfaced the world’s attention. This served as a very tragic new for whole nation of Iceland.
Reason for his resignation
The nation of Iceland was already suffering from the financial crisis, in which three of their top banks took massive hits. As far as the leaks are concerned, it is quoted that the Iceland Prime Minister had an undisclosed assets of a total $4 million in offshore tax havens. David along with his wife and a business partner built a company which goes by the name of Wintris Inc in the British Virgin Islands in 2007. This company has already been accused of investing millions of the inherited money.
The files from the Mossack Fonseca did not hand over any information concerning where the Wintris Inc invested its money. However, the records show that this firm had massive investments in the form of bonds in all the three major banks of Iceland.
Who will replace Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson
There were a lot of twist and turns in the Panama Leak saga. Resulting the Iceland Prime Minister to resign right away. David Gunnlaugsson will be replaced by the Iceland Deputy Prime Minister, Sigurdur Ingi Johansson, who also holds the position of the Minister of Fishery and Agriculture. Apart from these duties, Johansson will also be the leader of the Progressive Party.
First action taken by Iceland’s Prime Minister
On the day of his retirement, David Gunnlaugsson requested the President to dissolve the parliament and stated that he told the leader of the Independence party that if the parliamentarians are not eager to support the Iceland government in accomplishing joint tasks, eventually the parliament would be dissolved and a general election will take place as quickly as possible.
Net worth of the offshore tax haven
According to one of the leading banks of Iceland, Landsbanki, the offshore company owned by David Gunnlaugsson and his wife had a bond value of 174 million (November 2009) krona in the shape of Landsbanki bonds. Wintris Inc came three times in the list of the Kaupthing’s bank, with bonds of face values to be around 221million krona. It also holds a total value of 114 million krona in Glitnir bonds. Altogether, Wintris Inc has a financial value of $4 million in the form of assets in banks at current exchange rates. Also it possesses $8 million at pre-cash exchange rates. Wintris Inc may also have invested in stocks but these did not show up on the filings of the banks.
Protests against the Prime Minister
People gathered in quite an amount to protest in the square outside Reykjavik on Monday after the news broke on Sunday about the involved of Iceland’s Prime Minister in ownership of offshore company. According to the police, there were 10,000 protestants, which is a huge number considering that the nation of Iceland has a total population of only 320,000. Also during the protests, the leader of the Pirate Party; Iceland’s largest opposition party, demanded immediate resignation from David Gunnlaugsson.
David Gunnlaugsson’s response to interviewers
During an interview that was conducted in march, David was stumped when asked about the authenticity of the ownership of Wintris Inc and he suddenly left the interview. Although he did claim that it was her wife that sold out a piece of the company, which was later put into the bank and then the bank made a few arrangement because of which Wintris Inc came into existence.