The Hot Button: Offshore Tax Shelters - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Hot Button: Offshore Tax Shelters

The Hot Button: Offshore Tax Shelters

Published April 8, 2016

Photos by
Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir

The Hot Button issue this issue is offshore tax shelters. This subject has been very prominent in the headlines lately, as it has come to light that the wife of our (now former) Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnalaugsson has a pile of money in a holding company called Wintris Inc, located in the British Virgin Islands, which is a very popular tax shelter. Wintris also happens to be a claimant against the Icelandic banks declared insolvent after the 2008 crash, to the tune of half a billion ISK. What makes this particularly galling, apart from the rest of us having to deal with capital controls, is that our Prime Minister has spent a lot of time and energy touting the value and stability of the Icelandic króna, while describing the Icelandic bank claimants as “vultures.” But the Prime Minister isn’t alone in this—both the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Finance have been linked to offshore companies. The matter has blown up in the government’s collective face, prompting the opposition party to call for early elections, for the people to organise daily mass protests in front of Parliament, and for the Prime Minister to waffle on whether or not he has resigned (check out our feature for more on that). Early Icelandic Elections v. 2.0 may be right around the corner, but until then, offshore tax shelters are the current hot button topic in the Icelandic news.

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