Published March 6, 2017
Former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, who was forced to resign in the wake of a now-infamous interview where he was asked about his involvement in the Panama Papers, has contended that the interview in question was in fact staged.
Vísir reports that Sigmundur was asked, in a new interview with Víglínan, if he felt his political career might have taken a different turn if he had not walked out of last year’s interview with Swedish television company SVT.
“I doubt it would have changed much how a person reacts to one interview,” Sigmundur said. “Especially in light of the fact that the interview was staged. They had written everything ahead of time, from beginning to end, had rehearsed it, which is of course without precedent, had rehearsed how to most confuse the interview subject make him look the worst.”
In the interview in question, which you can see at the end of this article, Sigmundur was asked questions about the economy in general, then tax shelters specifically, and was then asked about his knowledge of a company called Wintris. This company is owned by his wife and located in the British Virgin Islands, an oft-used tax shelter. Once SVT was joined by Icelandic journalist Jóhannes Kr. Kristjansson of Reykjavík Media, Sigmundur’s attitude went from wary to outright defensive, accusing the two journalists of ambushing him and declaring that he had nothing to hide, even as he walked out of the interview in a huff.
Sigmundur resigned as Prime Minister on April 5, two days after the SVT interview was aired on RÚV’s Kastljósið news programme. In the Víglínan interview, Sigmundur said that he decided to resign ultimately to avoid “dragging [current Prime Minister] Bjarni Benediktsson down” with him.