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The Paradise Papers are a huge leak of financial documents that reveals how politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals use offshore structures to protect their cash from higher taxes.

There are more than 1,400GB of data, containing about 13.4 million documents. Some 6.8 million come from the offshore legal service provider Appleby and corporate services provider Estera. The two operated together under the Appleby name until Estera became independent in 2016. Another six million documents come from corporate registries in some 19 jurisdictions, mostly in the Caribbean. A smaller amount comes from the Singapore-based international trust and corporate services provider, Asiaciti Trust. The leaked data covers seven decades, from 1950 to 2016.

As with 2016 Panama Papers leak, the documents were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which called in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)to oversee the investigation. Nearly 100 media groups investigating the papers.

The Paradise Papers name was chosen because of the idyllic profiles of many of the offshore jurisdictions whose workings are unveiled, including Bermuda, the HQ of the main company involved, Appleby. It also dovetails nicely with the French term for a tax haven – paradis fiscal.

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The offshore financial affairs of hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, some of them household names, have been revealed. The papers also throw light on the legal firms, financial institutions and accountants working in the sector and on the jurisdictions that adopt offshore tax rules to attract money. The top stories so far include:

  • Queen Elizabeth’s private estateinvested about $13 million offshore including a small amount in the company behind BrightHouse, a chain accused of irresponsible lending
  • One of President Donald Trump’s top administration officials kept a financial stake in a company whose major partners include a Russian company part-owned by President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law
  • A key aide of Canada’s PM has been linked to offshore schemes that may have cost the nation millions of dollars in taxes, threatening to embarrass Justin Trudeau, who has campaigned to shut tax havens
  • How questions were raised about who is controlling Everton FC
  • An oligarch with close links to the Kremlin may have secretly taken ownership of a company responsible for anti-money laundering checks on Russian cash

Appleby is alaw firm that helps corporations, financial institutions and high-net-worth individuals set up and register companies in offshore jurisdictions.

With its headquarters in Bermuda and a history dating back to the 1890s, Appleby has become one of the largest and best known of about 10 major companies involved in the specialist arena. The leak shows the US dominates Appleby’s client register, with more than 31,000 US addresses for clients.

The Panama Papers relating to more than 200,000 offshore accounts have been posted online.

The huge database belonging to Mossack Fonseca law firm became accessible on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website offshoreleaks.icij.org.

The documents have shown how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax and avoid sanctions.

The papers were leaked by a source simply known as “John Doe”. The company denies any wrongdoing.

Last week Mossack Fonseca issued a “cease and desist ” order to prevent the database being made public but the organization that has the documents, the ICIJ, appears to be going ahead.

The papers have revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars.

They list more than 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts set up in more than 20 tax havens around the world.

Among those whose affairs have come under scrutiny include, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Mauricio Macri of Argentina, UK PM David Cameron along with Argentinean soccer star Lionel Messi, actor Jackie Chan and Spanish movie director Pedro Almodovar.

Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned after the matter came to light.What are Panama Papers

Mossack Fonseca says it has never been accused or charged with criminal wrongdoing. It says it is the victim of a hack.

Offshore companies are not illegal but their function is often to conceal both the origin and the owners of money, and to avoid tax payments.

Some 2.6 terabytes of information – 11.5 million documents – was originally given to the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, by “John Doe” more than a year ago.

The ICIJ insists that today’s online database is not be a data dump of the kind used by the WikiLeaks organization.

The ICIJ said: “The database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers. The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest.”

On May 9, 300 economists signed a letter urging world leaders to end tax havens, saying they only benefited rich individuals and multinational corporations, while boosting inequality.

Although the name John Doe is used, the gender of the source has not been revealed.

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John Doe, the anonymous source behind the leak of the Panama Papers, has spoken for the first time, offering to help law authorities make prosecutions in return for immunity.

In a 1,800-word statement, the source reveals he has never worked for a spy agency or a government.

John Doe starts the statement by citing “income equality” as a motive.

The Panama Papers have shown how some wealthy people use offshore firms to evade tax and avoid sanctions.

The documents were leaked from the Mossack Fonseca law firm. The company denies any wrongdoing and says it is the victim of a hack.

The Panama Papers were investigated by hundreds of investigative journalists, who worked in secret with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for months.

The documents have revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars.

They list more than 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts set up in tax havens around the world.What are Panama Papers

The John Doe statement came shortly before President Barack Obama delivered an address on the economy, in which he cited the Panama Papers as highlighting the problem of corruption and tax evasion.

Barack Obama said the US would require banks to identify those behind shell corporations. He said his administration’s actions would allow it to do a better job of making sure people paid taxes.

Although the name John Doe is used, the gender of the source has not been revealed.

In the statement, The Revolution will be Digitized, John Doe starts by saying: “Income equality is one of the defining issues of our time.”

He adds: “Banks, financial regulators and tax authorities have failed. Decisions have been made that have spared the wealthy while focusing instead on reining in middle- and low-income citizens.”

John Doe goes on to say: “Thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could access and evaluate the actual documents.

“ICIJ and its partner publications have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies.

“I, however, would be willing to co-operate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”

John Doe adds: “Legitimate whistleblowers who expose unquestionable wrongdoing, whether insiders or outsiders, deserve immunity from government retribution.”

Responding to speculation about his or her identity, John Doe’s statement says: “For the record, I do not work for any government or intelligence agency, directly or as a contractor, and I never have.

“My viewpoint is entirely my own, as was my decision to share the documents with Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), not for any specific political purpose, but simply because I understood enough about their contents to realize the scale of the injustices they described.”

John Doe says that global judicial systems have “utterly failed to address the metastasizing tax havens spotting Earth’s surface”.

He says: “I decided to expose Mossack Fonseca because I thought its founders, employees and clients should have to answer for their roles in these crimes, only some of which have come to light thus far.

“It will take years, possibly decades, for the full extent of the firm’s sordid acts to become known.”

Panama-based Mossack Fonseca says it was hacked by servers based abroad and has filed a complaint with the Panamanian attorney general’s office.

Mossack Fonseca says it has not acted illegally and that information was being misrepresented.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has apologized for erroneously claiming that German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung was owned by Goldman Sachs.

Vladimir Putin made the remark in his annual televised question-and-answer session with the public on April 14.Vladimir Putin Panama Papers

It concerned who was responsible for the publication of the so-called Panama Papers, which were leaked to Sueddeutsche Zeitung and revealed massive international tax evasion.

In an apology issued by the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin said he was misinformed by aides.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “It is more the error of those who prepared the briefing documents, my error.”

“There was information there that had not been checked and rechecked again and we gave it to the president. We have apologized [to the bank] and we will also apologize to the publication.”

The Panama Papers, which contained the names of people allegedly involved in tax evasion schemes, revealed a number of offshore companies owned by close associates of Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin has denied “any element of corruption” over the schemes, saying his opponents are trying to destabilize Russia.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung shared the documents with a large group of newspapers and publishers.

Panamanian police have raided the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of a massive data leak known as “Panama Papers”.

Prosecutors said the operation had been carried out at the company’s offices in Panama City “without incident or interference”.

The leaked “Panama Papers” have shown how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax and avoid sanctions.

Mossack Fonseca has denied wrongdoing. The company says it is the victim of a hack and that the information is being misrepresented.

Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela has promised to work with other countries to improve transparency in its offshore financial industry.Mossack Fonseca raid Panama City

Police carried out the raid along with officials from an organized crime unit. Officers set up a perimeter around the headquarters while prosecutors entered the offices to search for documents.

Afterwards, the attorney general’s office said the aim had been “to obtain documentation linked to the information published in news articles that establish the use of the firm in illicit activities”.

The statement added that searches would also take place at Mossack Fonseca’s subsidiaries.

Panama’s government promised an investigation soon after news reports emerged more than a week ago based on more than 11 million documents from the company.

Mossack Fonseca tweeted that it “continues to co-operate with authorities in investigations made at our headquarters”.

Many other countries are probing possible financial crimes by the rich and powerful in the aftermath of the leak.

The company partner Ramon Fonseca says it had been hacked by servers based abroad and has filed a complaint with the Panamanian attorney general’s office.

Ramon Fonseca served as a minister in Juan Carlos Valera’s government but stepped aside earlier this year after separate allegations linked Mossack Fonseca to the corruption scandal engulfing the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras.

Mossack Fonseca offices in El Salvador have been raided by police, the attorney general’s office says.

The Panama law firm is at the center of a recent massive data leak, known as the Panama Papers.

Documents and computer equipment were seized from the Mossack Fonseca office, officials said on Twitter.

The attorney general’s office said the Mossack Fonseca sign had been removed a day earlier and quoted an employee as saying the company was moving.

The leak showed how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax.

The raid was overseen by El Salvador’s Attorney General Douglas Melendez.Mossack Fonseca El Salvador

Mossack Fonseca’s El Salvador branch was able to provide “back office” functions for the company’s clients all over the world, according to a document posted on Twitter by the attorney general’s office.

Local news website El Faro reported that Salvadorans had used Mossack Fonseca to buy property in the country without declaring the purchases to the Salvadoran authorities.

Mossack Fonseca has denied it has done anything wrong and says the information is being presented out of context.

Mossack Fonseca offices in El Salvador have been raided by authorities, the attorney general’s office says.

The Panama law firm is at the center of a recent massive data leak, known as the Panama Papers.

Documents and computer equipment were seized from the Mossack Fonseca office, officials said on Twitter.

The attorney general’s office said the Mossack Fonseca sign had been removed a day earlier and quoted an employee as saying the company was moving.

The leak showed how some wealthy people use offshore companies to evade tax.

The raid was overseen by El Salvador’s Attorney General Douglas Melendez.

Mossack Fonseca’s El Salvador branch was able to provide “back office” functions for the company’s clients all over the world, according to a document posted on Twitter by the attorney general’s office.

Local news website El Faro reported that Salvadorans had used Mossack Fonseca to buy property in the country without declaring the purchases to the Salvadoran authorities.

Mossack Fonseca has denied it has done anything wrong and says the information is being presented out of context.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has pledged to assert his innocence when he appears before a federal prosecutor to explain his financial dealings.

An investigation began on April 7 after it transpired Mauricio Macri was mentioned in the Panama Papers, leaked files of law firm Mossack Fonseca.

According to local media reports, Mauricio Macri was listed as director of an offshore company in the Bahamas.

In a TV address, President Mauricio Macri vowed to prove he had done nothing wrong.

He said he wanted to co-operate fully with any inquiry.Mauricio Macri on Panama Papers

“I know there are some people concerned about these allegations in the Panama Papers that have come out and involve me,” the president said.

“I want to say one more time that I am very calm, I have complied with the law, I have told the truth and I have nothing to hide.”

Mauricio Macri said that he had made clear in his initial declaration that he did not have any shares and did not receive any payment for acting as a director of offshore companies.

He said that on April 8 he would be submitting a judicial “declaration of certainty” so that prosecutors can see he is telling the truth.

Mauricio Macri’s office has insisted that he had no shares in the company in question and never received any income from it.

Argentina’s national tax authority and anti-corruption office will be asked to provide information to the inquiry.

Prosecutor Federico Delgado said he wanted to determine if Mauricio Macri had “omitted, with malicious intent” mentioning his reported role in the Bahamas-registered offshore company Fleg Trading.

La Nacion, one of the newspapers examining some of the leaked documents, reported that Mauricio Macri was listed as a director of Fleg Trading from 1998 until 2009.

He did not list the company in his 2007 financial declaration, when he became mayor of Buenos Aires or in his 2015 declaration when he became president.

On April 5, Mauricio Macri’s office confirmed that a business group owned by the president’s family had set up an offshore company through the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal.

However, the president’s office argued that because he had never received any income from it there had been no reason to mention it in the financial declarations.

Mauricio Macri campaigned on a promise to combat corruption.

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Panama Papers are a leaked set of 11.5 million confidential documents that has lifted the lid on how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

The files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.

The documents show how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hide their money from public scrutiny.What are Panama Papers

At the time of publication, the papers identified five then-heads of state or government leaders from Argentina, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates as well as government officials, close relatives, and close associates of various heads of government of more than forty other countries.

Among the documents are details about:

  • Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko
  • Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri
  • Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who had an undeclared interest linked to his wife’s wealth. He has now resigned
  • Three of four children of Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif
  • The late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron
  • The brother-in-law of China’s President Xi Jinping

Panama Papers scandal also touches soccer’s world governing body, FIFA.

The leaked documents have been passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Mossack Fonseca says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and never been accused or charged with criminal wrong-doing.

UK’s PM David Cameron of “hypocrisy” after he revealed he had owned shares in an offshore trust set up by his late father.

On April 7, David Cameron said he sold the shares before he enter Number 10 in 2010 and had paid all UK taxes due on profits from the £30,000 ($45,000) sale.

The prim minister said the company, Blairmore Holdings, had not been set up to avoid tax.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said David Cameron had called people who invested in similar schemes “morally wrong”.

There have been days of headlines about Blairmore Holdings – a fund for investors which until 2006 used “bearer shares” to protect its clients’ privacy – following the leak of 11 million documents held by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The papers show that David Cameron’s father, Ian, was one of five UK directors who flew to board meetings in the Bahamas or Switzerland.

Downing Street and PM David Cameron had issued four statements on whether he had any financial involvement with Blairmore Holdings before the PM told ITV News on April 7 about the shares he had owned.

Tom Watson said David Cameron could not be blamed for his father’s actions but added: “He can for hypocrisy. He said that sunlight is the best disinfectant and wasn’t entirely straight with the British people about what his own financial arrangements were.

“That wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t also been lecturing very prominent people about their own tax arrangements, some he called morally wrong for being invested in similar schemes.

“People don’t like that and they want a lot more answers from David Cameron before this scandal goes away.”

Shadow Treasury minister Richard Burgon called on David Cameron to make a statement on his tax affairs to Parliament on April 11.

“He must now further clarify whether or not he or his family were benefiting directly or indirectly in 2013 when he was lobbying to prevent EU measures to better regulate trusts as a way to clamp down on tax avoidance,” he said.

In his interview on April 7, David Cameron told ITV News: “I don’t have anything to hide. I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established… I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud.”

David Cameron said much criticism was based on a “fundamental misconception” that Blairmore Investment was set up to avoid tax.

“It wasn’t. It was set up after exchange controls went, so that people who wanted to invest in dollar denominated shares and companies could do so, and there are many other, thousands of other unit trusts set up in this way,” he said.

Downing Street said the Cameron family bought their holding in April 1997 for £12,497 and sold it in January 2010 for £31,500.

In 2010, the personal allowance before capital gains tax was paid was £10,100 per person.

Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela has announced his country is creating an international panel to help improve transparency in its offshore financial industry.

The announcement follows the leak of millions of documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, showing it helped some clients evade tax and avoid sanctions.

Several countries are probing possible financial crimes by the rich and powerful in the aftermath of the leak.

In a TV address, President Juan Carlos Varela said Panama would work with other countries over the revelations.

“The Panamanian government, via our foreign ministry, will create an independent commission of domestic and international experts,” he said.

Photo PA News

Photo PA News

The panel would examine working practices and propose measures that could be shared to strengthen the transparency of the financial and legal systems.

Correspondents say President Varela is eager to defend his country against a “media attack” by wealthy countries that he says are unfairly stigmatizing him following the leak.

Mossack Fonseca, for its part, says that it has been the victim of a hack.

The company’s partner, Ramon Fonseca, insisted the leak was not an “inside job”.

Mossack Fonseca had been hacked by servers based abroad.

It has now filed a complaint with the Panamanian attorney general’s office.

Mossack Fonseca has accused media organizations reporting the leak of having “unauthorized access to proprietary documents and information taken from our company” and of presenting this information out of context.

The revelations have already sparked political reaction in several countries where high-profile figures have been implicated.

On April 5, Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned after the documents showed he owned an offshore company with his wife but had not declared it when he entered parliament.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson says he sold his shares to his wife and denies any wrongdoing.

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The leaked Panama Papers have revealed that international banking giants are helping clients to avoid tax by using complicated offshore arrangements.

HSBC, Credit Suisse and the Royal Bank of Scotland-owned Coutts Trustees have denied allegations.

The revelations in are based on more than 11 million documents leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca.

They name lenders said to have helped to set up structures making it hard for tax officials to pinpoint money flows.

They also name institutions alleged to have helped companies that were subject to international sanctions.

Rami Makhlouf is the cousin of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and has reported wealth of $5 billion.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

In 2008 the US Treasury imposed sanctions on him because it deemed him to be a “regime insider” and someone who “manipulated the Syrian judicial system and used Syrian intelligence officials to intimidate his business rivals”.

Mossack Fonseca continued to front six businesses – including one company called Drex Technologies – for Rami Makhlouf after the restrictions were put in place.

The files also show the Swiss branch of HSBC provided financial services for the company.

In 2010, two years after the sanctions were imposed, HSBC wrote to Mossack Fonseca saying it believed Drex Technologies was a company of “good standing”.

An internal email from Mossack Fonseca’s compliance department also suggests HSBC staff dealing with Drex Technologies knew who Rami Makhlouf was.

The email, dated February 17, 2011, says: “We have contacted HSBC who stated that they are very aware of the fact that Mr. Makhlouf is the cousin of the President of Syria.

“The HSBC compliance department of the bank not only in Geneva but also in their headquarters in London know about Mr. Makhlouf and confirm that they are comfortable with him.”

In response HSBC said: “We work closely with the authorities to fight financial crime and implement sanctions.

“Our policy is clear that offshore accounts can only remain open either where clients have been thoroughly vetted (including due diligence, ‘Know Your Customer’, source of wealth, and tax transparency checks), where authorities ask us to maintain an account for the purposes of monitoring activity, or where an account has been frozen based on sanctions obligations.”

The Panama leaks has revealed that more than 500 banks, including their subsidiaries and branches, registered nearly 15,600 shell companies with Mossack Fonseca.

Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam said: “We do not condone structures for tax avoidance. Whenever there is a structure with a third party beneficiary we insist to know the identity of that beneficiary.”

Tidjane Thiam added: “We as a company, as a bank only encourage the use of structures when there is a legitimate economic purpose.”

A spokesman for Coutts Trustees said the bank followed the highest standards when complying with regulation.

He added: “We require all clients to be tax compliant as a condition of receiving our products and services and take a risk-based approach to identify and prevent tax evasion that relies upon extensive anti-money laundering systems and controls, including the requirement to understand the source of clients’ wealth.

“The provision of trust and administration services is an entirely legitimate and key aspect of wealth management and succession planning.”

 

Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has resigned after the Panama Papers leaks shed an embarrassing spotlight on the world of offshore finance.

The so-called Panama Papers leaked from Mossack Fonseca showed Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson owned an offshore company, Wintris, with his wife.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was accused of concealing millions of dollars’ worth of family assets.

The agriculture minister is to take Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson’s place.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson is one of dozens of high-profile global figures caught up in the huge Mossack Fonseca leak.

Pressure for Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson to quit had intensified since the leaked material was first published on April 3.

News of Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson’s resignation came from Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who announced he would be taking over.

Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson is deputy leader of the governing Progressive party.

The Panama Papers show that Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his wife bought Wintris in 2007.

He did not declare an interest in the company when entering parliament in 2009. He sold his 50% of Wintris to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, for $1 (70p), eight months later.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson says no rules were broken and his wife did not benefit financially.

The offshore company was used to invest millions of dollars of inherited money, according to a document signed by Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir in 2015.

Court records show that Wintris had significant investments in the bonds of three major Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis which began in 2008.

Some of Icelanders’ anger is believed to stem from the perceived conflict of interest.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was involved in negotiations about the banks’ future and had characterized foreign creditors who wanted their money back as “vultures”, while Wintris itself was a creditor.

He had kept his wife’s interest in the outcome a secret.

A spokesman for the prime minister said on April 4 that Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir had always declared the assets to the tax authorities and that, under parliamentary rules, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson did not have to declare an interest in Wintris.

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Iceland’s PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has asked President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to dissolve parliament after allegations he concealed millions of dollars worth of investments in an offshore company.

The prime minister faced growing pressure over documents showing he and his wife owned offshore company Wintris.

A big protest was held in front of parliament in Iceland on April 4.

Dozens of high-profile global figures are named in a huge leak from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson put his request to President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson after the opposition proposed a no-confidence motion.

However, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson is reported to be delaying a decision until he has spoken to the main political parties.

After refusing to resign on April 4, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson appeared to come under increasing pressure from within his governing coalition too.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The prime minister took to Facebook on April 5 to outline his latest position.

“I told the leader of the Independence Party that if the party’s parliamentarians think they cannot support the government in completing joint tasks, I would dissolve parliament and call a general election,” Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson wrote.

The so-called Panama Papers leaked from Mossack Fonseca show that Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his wife bought Wintris in 2007.

He did not declare an interest in Wintris when entering parliament in 2009.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson sold his 50% of Wintris to his wife, Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir, for $1, eight months later.

The prime minister says no rules were broken and his wife did not benefit financially.

The offshore company was used to invest millions of dollars of inherited money, according to a document signed by Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir in 2015.

The leaked documents, published on April 3, show that Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was granted a general power of attorney over Wintris – he could manage the company “without any limitation”.

His wife had a similar power of attorney.

Court records show that Wintris had significant investments in the bonds of three major Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis which began in 2008.

As prime minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has been involved in negotiations about the banks which could affect the value of the bonds held by Wintris.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson kept his wife’s interest in the outcome a secret.

A spokesman for the prime minister said on April 4 that Anna Sigurlaug Palsdottir had always declared the assets to the tax authorities and that, under parliamentary rules, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson did not have to declare an interest in Wintris.