Protest in Iceland – 2016

In 2007, [The Prime Minister] Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, set up Wintris Inc via the law firm Mossack Fonseca. The company was registered in the British Virgin Islands, “a well-known offshore tax haven.”[2] In January 2009, Sigmundur Davíð was elected as the Chairman of the Progressive Party, and in the 2009 parliamentary election was elected as a member of the Althing. On the last day of 2009, Sigmundur Davíð sold his share in the company to his wife for $1, just before a new law came into force that would have forced him to declare his ownership as a conflict of interest. Wintris Inc lost millions of dollars as a result of the financial crisis.[3]

Following the 2013 parliamentary election, the Progressive Party and the Independence Party, both of which had won 19 seats, formed a coalition government. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, as Chairman of the Progressive Party, became Prime Minister, and Bjarni Benediktsson, Chairman of the Independence Party, became Minister of Finance. As Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð pledged to fight demands from foreign creditors for full repayment by the Icelandic banks.[4]

In March 2016, it was revealed that Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, the wife of the Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was a creditor for Iceland’s three failed banks, Landsbanki, Kaupthing Bankand Glitnir. Her company, Wintris Inc, was claiming a total of ISK 515 million from the three banks, due to losses incurred during the financial crisis. Following this revelation, a number of Icelandic MPs criticised the arrangement, with Svandís Svavarsdóttir, a former minister, calling for the government to resign and for new elections.[2]

In the Panama Papers, released on 3 April 2016, not only Sigmundur Davíð, but also the finance minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, and the interior minister, Ólöf Nordal, were implicated in having offshore tax arrangements. The news was also broadcast in Iceland on a special edition of the current affairs program, Kastljós.[5] (wikipedia)