Iceland, a country of only 330,000 inhabitants, was hit particularly hard by the release of the Panama Papers. Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer (no relation) report that documents from Mossack Fonesca include the names of an extraordinary number of Icelandic public officials, including Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, and Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, who “have links to anonymous offshore companies, which they have neglected to disclose.” The names of “the chairman of the prime minister’s Progressive party, everal of Iceland’s wealthiest men, a number of former top bankers, and at least one high-level government advisor” also appear.
While leaders from a number of other countries, including Russia, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia have been tied to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Gunnlaugsson in particular is feeling the heat. The Panama Papers reveal that Gunnlaugsson owned shares in Iceland’s banks, which is a big, big problem, considering that he oversaw the bailout of those banks after the 2008 financial crisis.
On Sunday, Iceland’s parliament called for a snap election to replace him. When asked about the leak in a Swedish television interview on Monday, Gunnlaugsson had a very hard time, sputtering for a few moments before stomping out of the interview. And protesters are currently pelting Iceland’s parliament building with yogurt and eggs, demanding Gunnlaugsson’s resignation.