Europe

Panama Papers: Protesters call on Iceland PM to quit

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Media captionFlares were fired at the protest in Reykjavik, calling for Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson's resignation

Crowds gathered outside Iceland's parliament demanding the prime minister step down over allegations he concealed investments in an offshore company.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson earlier refused to resign after details about Wintris, which he owned with his wife, were made public in a massive data leak.

He did not declare an interest in Wintris when entering parliament in 2009.

Opposition parties say they plan to hold a confidence vote.

Mr Gunnlaugsson says no rules were broken and his wife did not benefit financially.

He sold his 50% of Wintris to his wife, who already owned the other 50%, for $1 (70p) eight months after entering parliament.

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Image caption Large numbers of people gathered outside parliament

The offshore company was used to invest millions of dollars of inherited money, according to a document signed by Mr Gunnlaugsson's wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, in 2015.

Court records show that Wintris had stakes in bonds issued by three Icelandic banks that collapsed in 2008.

As prime minister, Mr Gunnlaugsson resisted pressure from foreign creditors to make the Icelandic banks repay deposits in full after their collapse.

Had foreign investors been repaid, it might have adversely affected both the Icelandic banks and the value of the bonds held by Wintris.

But Mr Gunnlaugsson kept his wife's interest in the outcome a secret.

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Image caption The opposition wants a confidence vote in parliament

In an interview with Channel 2 television, the prime minister insisted he had always put the public interest first.

"I have not considered quitting because of this matter nor am I going to quit because of this matter," he said.

"The government has had good results. Progress has been strong and it is important that the government can finish their work."

The information was contained in a leak of 11m internal files from the Panama legal firm Mossack Fonseca.

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Media captionThe Icelandic PM walked out of an interview with the Swedish Public Broadcaster, SVT, after being questioned over offshore company Wintris

Panama Papers - tax havens of the rich and powerful exposed

  • Eleven million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have been passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. BBC Panorama is among 107 media organisations - including UK newspaper the Guardian - in 76 countries which have been analysing the documents. The BBC doesn't know the identity of the source
  • They show how the company has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax
  • Mossack Fonseca says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and never been accused or charged with criminal wrong-doing
  • Tricks of the trade: How assets are hidden and taxes evaded
  • Panama Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using #PanamaPapers; in the BBC News app, follow the tag "Panama Papers"
  • Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only)

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