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Panama Papers: Iceland Premier Gunnlaugsson resigns


Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has resigned a day after he said he would not resign.

Gunnlaugsson becomes the first casualty of the now infamous Panama Papers leak which put the spotlight on the world of offshore financing.

Iceland PM Quits in Panama Papers Affair https://t.co/OayVpAYOsN pic.twitter.com/htXkM7sYEG

— Voice of America (@VOANews) April 5, 2016

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his wife were cited in leaked documents from Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca of owning an offshore company, Wintris which they bought in 2007.

He was accused of concealing millions of dollars worth of family assets.

The Icelandic Premier reportedly sold his 50 percent stake in Wintris to his wife for $1, eight months later. He however did not declare an interest in the company when entering parliament in 2009.

Thousands of Icelanders on Monday protested in front of parliament calling on the Gunnlaugsson to resign. But he refused.

On Tuesday, he submitted a request to President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson for the dissolution of parliament after the opposition proposed a no-confidence motion. His request was denied.

Iceland PM calls for dissolution of parliament after tax scandal https://t.co/1y7FG9kdUk pic.twitter.com/ApRrJACDuk

— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) April 5, 2016

The Panama Papers leak which came to light at the weekend had surfaced in Iceland last a month earlier prompting the protests.

“Of course we knew something was happening, the extent of the situation was a total surprise, so that’s why I’m here” said Gudrun Erlingsdottir, a protester.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson said his wife’s overseas assets were taxed in Iceland and that he had put the interest of the public before his own in dealing with the financial claims.

However, opponents and local media alleged a conflict of interest, and said that Gunnlaugsson should have been open about the overseas assets and the company.

The centre-right government coalition of Gunnlaugsson has been in power since 2013.

_Reuters, News Agencies _

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