Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir, parliamentary chairman of the Independence Party, says there is a difference in the position of the Prime Minister and the other two government ministers with connections to offshore companies. Independence Party MPs met last night to discuss the issue.
Ragnheiður told RÚV that the whole scandal is uncomfortable for both governing coalition parties.
She was asked if she sees a difference between the situation Progressive Party Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson finds himself in and the situation of her own party’s Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson and Minister for the Interior Ólöf Nordal after recent revelations that they too have links to offshore businesses in tax havens. “Yes, I believe there is; that there is a significant difference there, but I am not going to go further into it at this time.”
Meanwhile, the deputy chairman of the Progressive Party is standing by his leader, saying there is no doubt over the Prime Minister’s competence due to his wife’s offshore company. He says the couple have answered their critics.
Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson told RÚV that he totally understands the public reaction when places like Tortola are mentioned, but stresses that the PM’s wife’s company has never been a secret and does pay taxes in Iceland.
Sigurður Ingi followed this up by saying that if the Prime Minister had come clean at the time with banking authorities, resolution committees, claimants on the old banks, and the public, that he had personal interests tied up in the fate of offshore claimants; would he not inevitably be sending out a message that claimants should be treated with kid gloves?
By keeping quiet, he allowed the banks and the authorities to deal with claimants as they saw best, Sigurður claims.