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Protesters in Iceland forced their leader out because of the explosive Panama Papers


Well, that was fast.

Yesterday, the prime minister of Iceland got caught for being part of a scheme to hide some of his business dealings because of the the Panama Papers, data about shady money-hiding practices in Panama that came out last weekend.

He said he refused to resign, but he seemed really uncomfortable.

What a difference a few hours makes. Today he resigned.

This is him, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson:

iceland prime minister Gunnlaugsson

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland until today. (Framsókn/Wikimedia Commons)

What the Panama Papers are, in a nutshell

ICYMI, the Panama Papers are leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm named Mossack Foneca. They expose more than 14,000 clients who used the firm to hide money and avoid taxes. Including not only Icelandic PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, but also the father of British PM David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What were Gunnlaugsson's shady dealings?

Gunnlaugsson and his partner/wife set up a company called Wintris almost 10 years ago using, you guessed it, Mossack Fonseca. And he sold his stake in the company to his wife for just $1 right before he would have had to legally declare his ownership in the company.

Not only that, but when Gunnlaugsson ran for prime minister, one of his campaign promises was to deal with the companies Iceland's banks owed money to in the wake of the global financial crisis. But get this: One of the companies Iceland banks owes money to--a lot of money, like over $4 million--is ... Wintris. Which makes his promise seem totally hollow and disingenuous. Cue outrage.

Why Gunnlaugsson stepped down

When the revelations about their leader were revealed, Icelanders staged massive protests to protest Gunnlaugsson.

They worked.

He's the first major figure to experience serious consequences from this info leak, but he may not be the last.

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Protesters in Iceland forced their leader out because of the explosive Panama Papers

Dana Brown

Dana is a freelance writer from Florida, the state that winter forgot. She likes video games, cats, fantasy novels, and complaining about the weather. Follow her on Twitter for intermittent whining about the First Amendment.

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