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Record Number of Icelanders Protest Over Panama Papers Scandal

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Record Number of Icelanders Protest Over Panama Papers Scandal

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

A record 22,000 people gathered in Austurvöllur square, in front of Iceland’s parliament, this evening to demand that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson resign following last night’s revelations by the media that he and his wife Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir have links to a company in Tortola. Iceland's population is roughly 330,000.

Earlier today, the prime minister stated that he will not resign.

As reported, an unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed that numerous former and current heads of state worldwide have ties to offshore companies in tax havens. More than 100 media organizations in 80 countries have been analyzing the documents. Local and international media published coverage of the Panama Papers simultaneously at 6 pm last night.

Public anger about the issue in Iceland centers not only on the prime minister's links to the company but on the fact that he said in an interview taken last month, i.e. before last night’s revelations, but broadcast for the first time during last night’s coverage on news analysis program Kastljós on national broadcaster RÚV, that his only connection to an offshore company might have been through a company he had worked for but stated that he had never hidden any of his assets. When asked why he had kept the company secret from the nation and why he had not mentioned the company when listing his financial interests as a member of parliament, Sigmundur stressed that he had in fact always listed the company on his tax return and said that he was not obliged to declare the company in parliament. He then refused to answer questions about the assets of the company and finally stood up and walked out of the interview (see below).

Follow Iceland Review Online for ongoing coverage of the issue.

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