Connect with us

World

Iceland PM steps down after Panama Papers tax scandal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Iceland PM steps down after Panama Papers tax scandal | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Iceland PM steps down after Panama Papers tax scandal
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson became the first major casualty of the Panama Papers revelations, stepping down on Tuesday after leaked files showed his wife owned an offshore firm with big claims on the country’s collapsed banks.

The ruling Progressive Party’s deputy leader, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who holds the fisheries and agriculture portfolio, told reporters Gunnlaugsson was stepping down and that the party had proposed to their junior coalition partner, the Independence Party, that he become the new prime minister himself.

The two parties discussed the matter on Tuesday evening but no agreement was reached. Talks are expected to continue.

The leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialises in setting up offshore companies have shone a light on the finances of politicians and public figures from around the world, causing public outrage over how the powerful are able to hide money and avoid tax.

Adding confusion to the political crisis, a statement emailed on Tuesday night by government spokesman Sigurdur Jonsson said Gunnlaugsson had suggested that Johannsson take over as prime minister “for an unspecified amount of time”.

“The prime minister has not resigned and will continue to serve as chairman of the Progressive Party,” it said.

An Iceland government spokesman has said the claims against Iceland’s collapsed banks held by the firm owned by the prime minister’s wife – in which he also temporarily held a stake – totalled more than 500 million Icelandic crowns ($4.1 million). Gunnlaugson has said his wife’s assets were taxed in Iceland.

His decision to step down came after thousands of Icelanders gathered in front of parliament on Monday, hurling eggs and bananas and demanding the departure of the leader of the centre-right coalition government, which has been in power since 2013.

Opposition politicians, pushing for fresh general elections, also filed a motion of no-confidence in Gunnlaugson and the government on Monday. The parliamentary vote could still take place this week and could trigger elections if the motion is carried.

“It is clear our demand for new elections still stands,” Left Green Party leader Katrín Jakobsdottir told Reuters.

But Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, from the Independence party, the junior partner in the coalition government which has absolute majority in parliament, said he hoped the coalition would continue.

“We have agreed to start talks with the Progressive Party and to try to continue the co-operation we have had and which has until now been very fruitful for the Icelandic nation,” he told Reuters.

Any new election could see victory for the anti-establishment Pirate Party, according to polls the most popular political force in Iceland, which espouses grassroots democracy and transparency.

Gunnlaugsson’s opponents say he should have been open about the overseas assets and the company, and that he had a conflict of interest because the government is involved in striking deals with claimants against the bankrupt banks.

Iceland’s main commercial banks collapsed as the global financial crisis hit in 2008 and many Icelanders have blamed the North Atlantic island nation’s politicians for not reining in the banks’ debt-fuelled binge and averting a deep recession.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand News Today | AoT warns about tourist exuberance, easing of restrictions | June 22

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

CCSA: Bars to stay closed for now, drunk customers risk the spread of Covid-19

Bangkok15 hours ago

Woman dies after jumping from Phra Khanong BTS station in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

263 covid cases linked to canned seafood factory in Songkhla

Drugs15 hours ago

Narcotics Control Board announce recent drug busts, heroin and cocaine sent by mail

Environment16 hours ago

3 Cambodian activists arrested for plotting against the government/insulting the king after documenting waste run-off

Chiang Mai16 hours ago

Chiang Mai eases restrictions, alcohol now allowed at restaurants

Thailand16 hours ago

Angry ex allegedly sets motorcycle on fire in school parking garage

Cambodia17 hours ago

6 arrested in Cambodia for allegedly trafficking people into Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 4,059 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand18 hours ago

Power outages coming to Kathu

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Samut Sakhon governor calls for more vaccine doses after order was cut

Thailand19 hours ago

Fruit buyer arrested for allegedly using counterfeit certificates to export durian

Tourism20 hours ago

Airports of Thailand president says tourism won’t pick back up until October

Thailand20 hours ago

Mobile sterilisation/vaccination truck helps Pattaya’s cats and dogs

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending