Time: 9:32 p.m. CEST
The prime minister of Iceland submitted his resignation on Tuesday, according to his deputy, succumbing to political pressure two days after an enormous leak of documents from a secretive Panamanian law firm about offshore shell companies and tax shelters, the New York Times reported.
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was the first prominent political fallout from the document leaks known as the Panama Papers, which have shed a harsh light on the private financial activities of many rich and powerful people.
Gunnlaugsson, who will step down a year before his term was due to end, gave in to mounting pressure from the opposition and even from corners of his own party.
“What this exemplifies more than anything else is that there’s a growing lack of tolerance over the way that the international financial system has been gamed and rigged by corrupt elites,” Carl Dolan, director of Transparency International’s EU division, said in a phone interview from Brussels, Bloomberg said on Tuesday.
“The Panama files, printed in newspapers around the world, showed that the 41-year-old premier and his wife had investments placed in the British Virgin Islands, which included debt in Iceland’s three failed banks. The leaked documents therefore also raise questions about Gunnlaugsson’s role in overseeing negotiations with the banks’ creditors. Ironically, the offshore investments were held while Iceland enforced capital controls.”
The Times says, “officials around the world, from Europe to Asia to the Americas, were scrambling on Tuesday to contain the fallout — particularly in Britain, where Prime Minister David Cameron, who has portrayed himself as a champion of financial transparency, was battling revelations in the leaks that British-governed territories are vast havens of hidden wealth, including for members of his own family.”