Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has become the first global leader to resign amid a scandal involving mass tax evasion, leaked in documents known as the Panama Papers. Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson told Icelandic broadcaster RUV that Gunnlaugsson would step down as leader of the country’s coalition government.
The resignation follows reports that he and his wife set up an offshore company with the help of a Panamanian law firm at the center of the Panama Papers scandal. The company, set up in the British Virgin Islands, may represent a severe conflict of interest with his official role.
Some 11.5 million leaked documents were released over the weekend revealing how and where politicians, businesses and celebrities hide their wealth. The report, which was released by an international coalition of media outlets working with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, is based on documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Massack Fonseca is one of the world’s biggest creators of shell companies in the world. The documents implicate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the presidents of Argentina and Ukraine, among many others. However, nothing thus far directly ties President Putin to the accounts.