From Iceland — Former City Councilman Allegedly Hid Family Money In Offshore Account

Former City Councilman Allegedly Hid Family Money In Offshore Account

Published May 19, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Screenshot from Kastljós

A city councilman who resigned in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations allegedly hid his father’s retirement fund overseas, and from the rest of his family. He has denied the charges against him.

As a part of an ongoing investigation by Reykjavík Media, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), Kastljós revealed last night that former Independence Party city councilman Júlíus Vífill Ingvason had more involvement in the Panama Papers than was originally known.

Reporters spoke with Júlíus’s siblings and nephew about Ingvar Helgason, Júlíus’ father, who was at one time a considerably wealthy man due to a thriving automobile import business. Ingvar had reportedly squirreled away a tidy savings over the years for a retirement fund, and though he passed away in 1999, the company was sold five years later for 25 million ISK.

However, despite Júlíus’ mother searching high and low for the bank account Ingvar had set up, this money was nowhere to be found. She passed away last autumn.

When it came to light last April that Júlíus had set up an offshore account in Panama that he was using to maintain a Swiss bank account, Julíus reportedly called individual family members to tell them that this account contained the missing money his father had put aside. These calls were confirmed for reporters by two of Júlíus’ siblings and a nephew.

Shortly after the Kastljós broadcast, Júlíus denied all of this, and contends that the allegations are “unprovable”. Kastljós, for their part have made public their repeated attempts before running this story to get a response from Júlíus, to no avail.

As reported, according to the documents that have come out in the Panama Papers leak, Júlíus established the company Silwood Foundation in Panama in 2014. This company was intended to take care of his account at the bank Julius Bär in Switzerland. None of this was listed with the city as one of his vested interests.

In the email communications uncovered in the leak, special emphasis is placed on making sure Júlíus’ part in the company is kept as hidden as possible. Shortly after the story broke, Júlíus resigned from city council.

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