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Iceland: thousands protest, call for PM to resign over 'Panama Papers' leaks

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By Euronews
Iceland: thousands protest, call for PM to resign over 'Panama Papers' leaks

Thousands of Icelanders took to the streets calling on the Prime Minister to resign, following allegations he benefited from offshore holdings in tax havens.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his wife are cited in the so-called Panama Papers as having hidden millions of dollars of investments in Icelandic banks through a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Opposition lawmakers have also put forward a motion of no-confidence against him. The vote could take place later this week.

But the Prime Minister said he would not quit.

“I certainly won’t because what we’ve seen is the fact that, well, my wife has always paid her taxes. We’ve also seen that she has avoided any conflict of interest by investing in Icelandic companies,” Gunnlaugsson said.

The couple’s offshore holdings allegedly included bonds in Iceland’s three biggest banks, whose collapse in 2008 crippled the country.

Gunnlaugsson had not disclosed the holdings when he entered parliament in 2009. He handed over his stake to his wife eight months later.

But as prime minister since 2013, Gunnlaugsson was involved in reaching a deal for the banks’s creditors — so he is now being accused of a conflict of interest.