by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
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Iceland's minister of finance

Bjarni Benediktsson

He and partners owned Seychelles company during Iceland's banking crisis

Related to  Iceland
Data from: Panama Papers
Bjarni Benediktsson is Iceland’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and has been a member of parliament since 2003. Benediktsson has led the Independence Party since 2009 and formed a coalition government with Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and the Progressive Party after 2013 elections. He comes from a wealthy family and served as chairman of both N1, Iceland’s biggest oil firm and gasoline retailer, and its holding company, BNT, from 2005-2008. Benediktsson weathered a minor scandal in 2015 when it emerged that he had registered on the Ashley Madison cheating website for married men. His great uncle, also named Bjarni Benediktsson, was prime minister of Iceland from 1963 to 1970.

In the data

Benediktsson and two Icelandic businessmen owned a Seychelles shell company called Falson & Co, which was purchased through the Luxembourg branch of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki in 2005. Falson issued bearer shares, which confer ownership to whomever holds the physical share certificates. Bearer shares are typically used to provide an extra layer of secrecy for the ownership of an asset. Falson was struck off the register of companies in 2010. “I have not had any assets in tax havens or anything like that,” Benediktsson told a television interviewer in 2015.

Response

Benediktsson said Falson was created to hold four apartments in a building under construction in Dubai, which were sold at a loss in 2009. “I had no intention or need to hide ownership,” Benediktsson said. “I declared my ownership of the company to the tax authorities in Iceland.”
Former government minister in France
Jérôme Cahuzac
Iceland's Interior Minister
Ólöf Nordal

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