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

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson

Offshore company held millions of dollars worth of bonds in Iceland banks that failed

Data from: Panama Papers
Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is the prime minister of Iceland. A former journalist and radio personality, Gunnlaugsson helped lead a campaign against bank bailouts after the Icelandic financial crisis in 2008 and became chairman of the Progressive Party shortly thereafter. He entered parliament in 2009 and led the Progressives to victory in 2013, becoming at age 38 the nation’s youngest prime minister. His wife, Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, is the daughter of a wealthy Toyota dealer in Iceland.

In the data

Gunnlaugsson and Pálsdóttir owned a British Virgin Islands shell company called Wintris Inc., which held nearly $4 million in bonds in the three major Icelandic banks. Those banks collapsed in 2008, and Gunnlaugsson campaigned against bailing out foreign creditors. It is unclear whether Gunnlaugsson’s political positions benefited or hurt the value of the bonds held by Wintris. In 2009, Gunnlaugsson entered parliament but failed to declare his ownership of Wintris. On the last day of 2009, he sold his 50 percent share in Wintris to Pálsdóttir for a dollar. Mossack Fonseca noted in April 2013 that Pálsdóttir was a so-called politically exposed person, but internal records suggest the firm did nothing about it.

Response

Asked if he had ever owned an offshore company in a television interview in March, Gunnlaugsson said no. “Myself? No. Well, the Icelandic companies I have worked with had connections with offshore companies, even the — what's it called? The worker's unions. So it would have been through such arrangements, but I have always given all of my assets and that of my family up for taxes. "A spokesman said in a subsequent statement that "the Prime Minister and his wife have adhered to Icelandic law, including declaring all assets, securities and income in Icelandic tax returns since 2008.”
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