Iceland PM resigns after Panama Papers leak

Iceland PM resigns after Panama Papers leak
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Iceland’s prime minister has reportedly resigned following accusations in the "Panama Papers" that he attempted to hide millions of dollars in an offshore company.

The BBC reported Tuesday that Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson plans to step down from his position at the top of Iceland’s government, making him the first public official to step down following a wide-ranging report that accuses a host of public figures of hiding millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

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The Panama Papers are a leak of internal files from the firm Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that reportedly helped numerous individuals and businesses establish offshore companies to hide assets.

The contents of the papers were revealed earlier this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The Justice Department is said to be looking into the matter for possible illegal activity.

Gunnlaugsson was one of several high-ranking public officials to be identified in the papers, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of protesters amassed outside Iceland’s Parliament to demand Gunnlaugsson’s resignation following the report, which found he set up a company in 2007 on the British Virgin Islands and sold his half of the company to his wife for $1 before he would have had to publicly disclose it.

It is not strictly illegal to place funds in an offshore company, but such shell companies can be used for illegal purposes such as tax evasion and money laundering.