The financial crisis of 2008 rocked the world economy, destroying markets, destabilizing countries, and throwing the world in complete financial disarray. This crisis was largely the result of poor, borderline illegal financial decision of the world’s most prosperous banks and individuals, and few countries were hit harder than Iceland. Since those times, the country has made a valiant pledge to counter political corruption and the economic greed and power of those who plunged the world into near chaos, and this week, they may have done just that.
In a spectacular move of civil unrest, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was forced to step down and resign his position after information came out regarding a series of shell companies (used to store money in offshore accounts) worth millions were discovered to be owned by he and wife. This leak came as part of the ongoing PanamaPapers revelations, in which information leaked from a Panama based firm turned public attention so far on a dozen current or former heads of state who allegedly stashed away wealth and evaded taxes through offshore accounts. These leaks singled out the Prime Minister and unveiled his hidden accounts and assets. This lead to prompt protests, and a gathering of tens of thousands of Icelanders demanding that Gunnlaugsson step down from his position and be held accountable.
Initially the former PM resisted these demands, claiming that nothing illegal had been done, but with mounting pressure and evidence, and a growing number of natives demanding his ouster, the end was all but inevitable. On Tuesday, April 5th, the former PM announced his resignation after a short attempt to dissolve the running government that was denied by the current Icelandic president. Overall this has proven that these leaks are a veritable rallying cry to many around the world who believe that the upper class of world citizens (politicians, celebrities, billionaires, etc) are allowed to play by a different set of rules, and has shown that at least in Iceland, there are consequences to these actions.