Protesters pack the streets in Iceland's capital
The country's prime minister is under fire after leaked documents revealed ties to offshore company
He says the holding company for his wife's assets brought no tax advantages
Iceland’s Prime Minister is facing calls to resign after leaked documents revealed personal financial arrangements that critics say have shattered public confidence in his leadership and will affect the country’s international reputation.
Protesters packed streets outside the country’s Parliament in Reykjavik on Monday as opposition lawmakers called for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.
Meanwhile, Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has cut short a personal trip to the United States, Iceland’s national public service broadcaster RUV reports, citing his press secretary.
Elected leaders implicated
Gunnlaugsson is one of a number of world leaders facing scrutiny since a group of news organizations jointly published reports Sunday drawing on millions of documents hacked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that allegedly helped elected leaders and top officials set up secret shell companies and offshore accounts.
The reports accuse Gunnlaugsson, who has led the country since 2013, of having ties to an offshore company, Wintris Inc., that were not properly disclosed.
CNN hasn’t been able to verify independently the leaked documents, which were obtained from an anonymous source by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Gunnlaugsson has not responded to a request for comment from CNN.
He told Iceland’s TV2 Monday that he felt “betrayed and disappointed” by the accusations and wouldn’t step down.
“I have not considered resigning, nor am I going to resign, because of this matter,” he said.
Mossack Fonseca said in a statement to CNN on Monday that while the firm “may have been the victim of a data breach, nothing we’ve seen in this illegally obtained cache of documents suggests we’ve done anything illegal, and that’s very much in keeping with the global reputation we’ve built over the past 40 years of doing business the right way.”
Questions over declaration of interest
According to the journalism group, which carried out a yearlong investigation into the documents in cooperation with more than 100 news organizations, Gunnlaugsson and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, purchased Wintris from Mossack Fonseca in 2007.
The journalism organization alleged the shell company was used to invest millions of dollars in inherited money, and that Gunnlaugsson did not disclose, as required by parliamentary rules, that he co-owned Wintris when he entered Parliament in April 2009.