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Panama Papers Still Trouble City Council

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Panama Papers Still Trouble City Council

Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir.

Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir.

Sveinbjörg Birna Björnsdóttir, who represents the Progressive Party at the Reykjavík City Council, plans to ask for a temporary leave of absence at a city council meeting today. Her name came up in the Panama Papers ―millions of documents leaked from a Panama law firm―this spring, as the documents revealed her ownership of companies in Luxembourg.

Another city council member, Júlíus Vífill Ingvarsson, of the Independence Party, resigned after his name was associated with an account registered in Panama, which he failed to report to the City of Reykjavík as a financial interest.

Sveinbjörg was to have returned from maternity leave last week, but she had announced in April that she would not return until her association with offshore accounts had been reviewed.

The city President’s Committee asked the city’s internal auditing department, its compliance officer and the Ethics Committee of the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities to investigate whether laws or regulations were broken regarding the duties and competence of city council members, and whether rules regarding the documentation of their financial interests and their ethical rules had been broken.

The Ethics Committee came to the conclusion that the ownership of offshore companies by elected officials does not show a strong sense of civic responsibility.

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