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Treasurer Resigns Over Offshore Business

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Treasurer Resigns Over Offshore Business

Árni Páll Árnarson

Árni Páll Árnason, Social Democrat leader. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

It was yesterday revealed that the treasurer of the opposition Social Democrats party has assets in a business based in Luxembourg—the closest thing the EU has to a tax haven.

The revelation came about Vilhjálmur Þorsteinsson at a difficult time, in light of the offshore business scandal currently dogging three ministers in the governing coalition.

Vilhjálmur’s Luxembourg business dealings are apparently fully registered and taxed in Iceland, and his party leader, Árni Páll Árnason, told RÚV that the revelation is "not remotely problematic for the party." It is by no means illegal to have money overseas, he said.

However, late last night, Vilhjálmur made an online statement in which he says that his personal taxation is exactly the same as it would have been if the company were based in Iceland.

“But despite the above, it is clear that such complicated asset and investment dealings by the treasurer of the Social Democrats – Iceland’s socialist party – is a poorly suited focus in the debate currently ongoing about offshore businesses and tax havens where it matters: the government and parliamentary majority in this country,” Vilhjálmur writes.

“I have therefore decided to resign the position of treasurer of the Social Democrats, and I totally support the opposition in calling for the governing parties to take responsibility for bringing their people to account.”

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