Iceland’s PM Resigns Following ‘Panama Papers’ Leak
Iceland’s prime minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, has resigned and in so doing become the first major casualty of the leaked ‘Panama Papers.’
It appears Gunnlaugsson went before he was pushed, with thousands protesting outside the parliament building in Reykjavik earlier this week and opposition parties preparing a no confidence motion.
Local reports also claimed that Gunnlaugsson was refused permission by Iceland’s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, to dissolve parliament, presumably in preparation for a snap election.
The resignation is a first scalp for whomever leaked the 11.5 million records from shady Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, last weekend.
The treasure trove of documents is said to contain incriminating evidence of the offshore tax dealings of over a dozen current and former heads of state including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and China’s Xi Jinping.
The documents showed Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company with his wife in a bid to hide millions in assets, but didn’t declare it when he took public office, according to the BBC.
The former PM claims he sold the company to his wife for $1 eight months after entering parliament and that no rules were broken.
The resignation came after Gunnlaugsson stormed out of a TV interview with Sweden’s public broadcaster after journalists quizzed him on the revelations.
If nothing else, the incident shows the significant repercussions which can stem from a data breach.
It’s still not clear how the documents were taken from Mossack Fonseca, although it’s thought that they represent the biggest ever leak of this kind – dwarfing the Wikileaks diplomatic cables dump of 2010 and the infamous Edward Snowden leak three years later.
In total, 2.6TB of information was taken from the law firm’s database, detailing business practices dating back over 40 years.
Possible culprits include a disgruntled insider at the firm, or external hacktivists keen to expose corruption among the world’s ruling elites.
There’s much more to come, with only a small proportion of the total data stolen having been released to news and media outlets around the world.
Source: Information Security Magazine