Washington (Talk Media News) — Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned Tuesday after the Panama Papers scandal revealed he had ties to offshore companies that concealed millions of dollars.
While ownership of a shell company itself is not illegal, the ties to the banks that led to the global economic downturn back in 2008 almost immediately severed any confidence the Icelandic public had in Gunnlaugsson when the news broke.
Gunnlaugsson had maintained on Monday that he would not step down, insisting he had done noting illegal, but massive protests and the looming vote of no confidence in the country’s parliament led to Tuesday’s decision.
Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, the party’s deputy chairman, who will take up the post upon approval from Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and the rest of the country’s lawmakers announced the move.
Amid growing protests, President Grimsson had been called on to dissolve parliament, but he pushed back, saying that he needed to meet with members of the political parties involved.
Gunnlaugsson’s resignation marks the first political casualty of the Panama Papers, a political scandal revealed by a massive leak of financial documents from Mossack Fonseca, a large international offshore law firm.
The leaked documents allegedly have links all over the globe, including to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was accused of allowing the country’s ultra wealthy individuals to dodge taxes through tax havens.
Both the Russian and Chinese governments have denied the allegations, saying that they were purely political in nature and without foundation.
Cameron, for his part, is linked to the scandal by way of his father, who allegedly used the law firm to funnel financial assets to the offshore accounts.
“I have a salary as prime minister, and I have some savings, which I get some interest from, and I have a house,” Cameron said. “I have no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that.”