Prime Minister Embroiled In Offshore Money Scandal - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Prime Minister Embroiled In Offshore Money Scandal

Published March 18, 2016

Photo by
Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org

New information is developing about the financial activities of the Prime Minister’s wife which directly contradict his own financial policies.

Last Tuesday Anna Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir, the wife of Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, made a post to Facebook revealing that she has been keeping an undisclosed amount of family inheritance money in a company called Wintris Inc. This money is kept in the British Virgin Islands, a popular tax haven, but Anna contends that the Icelandic tax office is well aware of this money, and everything is completely legal and above board.

However, Wintris Inc. is also a claimant against Landsbanki Íslands, Glitnir and Kaupthing to the tune of about half a billion ISK. Furthermore, Kjarninn has repeatedly asked for information regarding assets owned by government officials or members of their family that are being kept overseas, to no avail.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly advocated for the strength of the indexed Icelandic króna and the importance of keeping assets within the country. In addition, he has also repeatedly described bank claimants as “vultures” who are potentially damaging to the Icelandic economy.

The issue has sparked considerable criticism within parliament, and RÚV now reports that Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has disavowed any knowledge that the Prime Minister’s wife was a claimant, telling reporters that the whole controversy is something he needs to answer for on his own.

Sigmundur has gone on the defensive, writing a lengthy post to his blog on the matter, wherein he emphasised that his wife has not done anything illegal. At the same time, he said that he would not be discussing his wife’s financial matters with the media.

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