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Iceland’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Panama Papers Scandal

Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, has resigned after days of pressure from the Panama Papers scandal. The Panama Papers, released on April 3, are a series of leaks which have exposed 11.5 million confidential financial documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, including information pertaining to many rich, powerful people and companies all over the world. According to the The New York Times, Gunnlaugsson’s resignation “was the first prominent political fallout from the document leaks.”

The prime minister insisted on staying in office, even after the documents were released. The Times states that in 2007, he and his partner-turned-wife used Mossack Fonseca to set up a company in British Virgin Islands—basically a place where the couple could hide and invest large amounts of money in order to avoid paying taxes on it. In 2009, he sold his part of the company to his wife for only $1, because of a new law that was going into effect. The new law would have forced Gunnlaugsson to disclose this company’s existance. After all, as a politician, he was involved in making decisions about banks that his company was using for investments, according to the BBC. But selling his half of the company allowed him to avoid disclosure.

Not so fast, prime minister. After Iceland’s economy crashed in 2008, the company lost a ton of money. It’s now claiming $4.2 million from three Icelandic banks that tanked after the financial crisis. And when the Icelandic people found out about all this from the Panama Papers leak, they were not happy about it.

The pressure from the Icelandic public and other governments became too insurmountable, leading to the prime minister’s resignation on Tuesday.

Karma sucks, doesn’t it?

Temple University, 2019. Magazine journalist and editor, fitness instructor, health and wellness enthusiast. Proponent of lists, Jesus, and the Oxford comma. Will do anything for an iced oatmilk latte. Follow my journey: Twitter + Instagram: @sarah_madaus
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