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The Panama Papers Forced A World Leader To Resign After Just 48 Hours

The Panama Papers, published on Sunday, are already having massive consequences.

On Tuesday, the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, resigned after the leaked documents reportedly revealed some controversial details regarding his business activities, The New York Times reports.

The documents reportedly showed Gunnlaugsson and his wife owned a secretive offshore company in the British Virgin Islands called Wintris Inc., which they purchased via the law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2007.

Wintris apparently held millions of dollars in claims in Iceland's banks, which collapsed in 2008 as a consequence of the global financial crisis.

In 2013, after he was elected prime minister, Gunnlaugsson was involved in negotiations over the worth of these claims.

But between that time, while he was a member of Iceland's parliament (elected in 2009), he never declared ownership of Wintris.

What's more, the Panama Papers alleged Gunnlaugsson sold his half of Wintris to his wife in 2009 for $1, shortly before a law was passed that would force him to divulge his interest in the company as a member of parliament.

To top it all off, Gunnlaugsson campaigned for prime minister on a platform of holding the creditors of the banks accountable. All the while, he secretly had a lot to gain from all this.

Long story short, it looks like he was involved in some pretty shady stuff and had some major conflicts of interest. He told the public one thing while doing something completely different.

Accordingly, it's not surprising thousands of people descended upon Iceland's parliament on Monday and demanded the prime minister's resignation.

Gunnlaugsson is not the only world leader or politician implicated in dubious business activities via the Panama Papers — the largest data leak in history with over 11 million files released. But, he is the first major casualty of the leak, and it seems unlikely he'll be the last.

Citations: Panama Papers Scandal Brings Down Iceland's Prime Minister (The New York Times), Why Iceland's prime minister just resigned over the Panama Papers leak (Vox)

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John Haltiwanger

Editor

John Haltiwanger is the Senior Politics Writer at Elite Daily. He was born and raised in DC. John earned an MSc in International Relations from the Univ. Of Glasgow and a BA in History from St. Mary's College of MD. He loves life, and burritos.
John Haltiwanger is the Senior Politics Writer at Elite Daily. He was born and raised in DC. John earned an MSc in International Relations from the Univ. Of Glasgow and a BA in History from St. Mary's College of MD. He loves life, and burritos.

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