From Iceland — Former PM's Contentions Do Not Hold Up To Scrutiny

Former PM’s Contentions Do Not Hold Up To Scrutiny

Published June 6, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson recently gave a version of events surrounding an infamous TV interview that contradict email correspondence with his office. One of his assistants reportedly tried to suppress the airing of the interview as well.

Sigmundur Davíð recently spoke at a meeting of Progressive Party members, touching upon the circumstances that led to his downfall and resignation: a now-infamous television interview with him, taken by Swedish news show Upp­drag Granskning, in which he was asked directly about his involvement with offshore tax shelters. The video of the clip, which shows Sigmundur getting defensive and angry before storming off the set, went viral overnight, and would precipitate his resignation from office.

(Article continues after video)

RÚV reports that Sigmundur Davíð told his fellow Progressives that the entire interview had been an ambush specifically designed to ruin his reputation. He added that over the course of two weeks, “we were always trying to answer reporters’ questions” about the matter, but to no avail. The interview, he said, was “scripted to strike a blow against the Progressive Party.”

These contentions do not hold up to scrutiny.

Reykjavík Media, which took part in the investigation of the Panama Papers, released copies of the emails they had sent to the office of the then-Prime Minister, repeatedly requesting he provide answers to their questions about his involvement with offshore tax accounts.

Furthermore, Reykjavík Media says that immediately after the interview concluded, an assistant to Sigmundur Davíð called Nils Hanson, the editor of Upp­drag Granskning, demanding that the portion of Sigmundur Davíð’s interview concerning tax shelters be destroyed. That request was not granted.

Sigmundur Davíð is planning to run again for chairperson of the Progressive Party, and to be a member of parliament again when elections are held this autumn.

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