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
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.
The Russian government has announced it will not compensate its citizens who have lost money in the Cyprus banking crisis.
Russian citizens are believed to have billions of euros in Cypriot accounts and deposits above 100,000 euros ($128,200) in the two biggest banks (Bank of Cyprus and Laiki) could be reduced by as much as 60%.
The Russian government has announced it will not compensate its citizens who have lost money in the Cyprus banking crisis
Such losses would be “a great shame”, First Deputy PM Igor Shuvalov said, “but the Russian government won’t take any action in that situation”.
Cyprus now restricts cash withdrawals.
A 10 billion-euro bailout from the EU and IMF – required to keep the debt-laden Cypriot economy afloat – will only be granted if Cyprus itself raises 5.8 billion euros, most of which looks likely to come from depositors with more than 100,000 euros in Bank of Cyprus and Laiki (Popular Bank).
Laiki, the second largest bank, is being wound up and folded into Bank of Cyprus, the biggest bank.
Speaking on the Russian state TV channel Rossiya 1, Igor Shuvalov said Russian money in Cyprus included some that had been taxed and some that had not.
The Russian government would still look at cases where there were “serious losses, involving companies in which the Russian state is a shareholder”, he said. That review would take place in Russia, and “for this it would certainly not be necessary to help the Republic of Cyprus”, Igor Shuvalov added.
Many of the large-scale foreign investors in Cyprus are Russian – and in many cases they have taken advantage of the island’s status as an offshore tax haven. Some politicians have accused Cyprus of acting as a hub for Russian money-laundering – an allegation rejected by Cypriot officials.
After years of large-scale capital flight from Russia there is now a Kremlin drive to repatriate Russian money. The government has introduced tighter monitoring of foreign bank accounts held by Russian state employees.
Bank of Cyprus depositors with more than 100,000 euros could lose up to 60% of their savings as part of the bailout, officials say.
Cyprus’ central bank says 37.5% of holdings over 100,000 euros will become shares.
Up to 22.5% will go into a fund attracting no interest and may be subject to further write-offs.
The other 40% will attract interest – but this will not be paid unless the bank performs well.
The fear is that once the unprecedented capital controls – which are in place for an indefinite time – are lifted, the wealthiest will rush to move their deposits abroad.
Cyprus has become the first eurozone member country to bring in capital controls to prevent a torrent of money leaving the island and credit institutions collapsing.
President Nicos Anastasiades has said the financial situation has been “contained” following the deal.
The president has also stressed that Cyprus has no intention of leaving the euro, stressing that “in no way will we experiment with the future of our country”.
Denise Rich, the wealthy socialite and former wife of billionaire trader Marc Rich, has renounced her U.S. citizenship to avoid U.S. tax bill.
Denise Rich, 68, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, top Democratic donor and glamorous figure in European royalty circles, renounced her American passport in November, according to her lawyer.
Her maiden name, Denise Eisenberg, appeared in the Federal Register on April 30 in a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. citizenship and permanent residents who handed in their green cards.
By dumping her U.S. passport, Denise Rich, who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, likely will save tens of millions of dollars or more in U.S. taxes over the long haul, tax lawyers say.
She also has Austrian citizenship through her deceased father, said Michael Heidt, a lawyer in Hollywood, Florida, who represented her in a recent lawsuit. She plans to live in London.
Denise Rich, who wrote songs recorded by Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and Jessica Simpson, is the latest bold-faced name to join a wave of wealthy people renouncing their American citizenship.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin gave up his U.S. passport to become a citizen of Singapore, an offshore tax haven, before the company’s initial public offering in May.
Nearly 1,800 citizens and permanent residents, a record since data was first compiled in 1998, expatriated last year, according to government figures.
Denise Rich, the wealthy socialite and former wife of billionaire trader Marc Rich, has renounced her U.S. citizenship to avoid U.S. tax bill
Michael Heidt said Denise Rich had dumped her U.S. passport “so that she can be closer to her family and to Peter Cervinka, her long-time partner”.
Denise Rich’s two daughters live in London; Peter Cervinka, a wealthy property developer, is an Austrian national.
Denise Rich plans to make London her main residence and does not intend to acquire other passports, Michael Heidt said.
Her ex-husband, commodities trader Marc Rich, fled the United States in 1983 when indicted on charges of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and illegal trading of oil with Iran. They divorced in 1996.
Marc Rich received a presidential pardon in 2001 on President Bill Clinton’s last day in office.
Federal prosecutors and Congress investigated the pardon, and in 2002 a House of Representatives committee concluded Denise Rich had swayed the action through donations to the Clinton library and campaign.
Dubbed “Lady Gatsby” by Yachting magazine, Denise Rich owns multiple properties, including a mansion in Aspen, Colorado.
She is a frequent habitué of Cannes, Monte Carlo and St. Tropez with celebrities and singers aboard her 157-foot yacht, Lady Joy.
Denise Rich will escape future U.S. taxes but possibly not all current ones. In 2008, Congress imposed an expatriation tax on persons with a net worth of more than $2 million who dump their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.
Under the law, those people owe an “exit tax” on their worldwide property, computed at a fair market value the day before they leave.
But tax lawyers say the tax can be reduced or avoided by structuring asset holdings through foreign annuities.
While Austria, like the United States, generally taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, it has generous tax breaks for citizens who spend half the year abroad.
In January, Rich put her 5th Avenue penthouse in New York on the market for $65 million, according to the listing agent, The Corcoran Group.
New York property records show Denise Rich acquired a 100% stake in the apartment, described by Corcoran as “the epitome of luxury and grandeur,” for $200,000 in 2006.
Bonnie Evans, the Corcoran broker for the property, declined to discuss details.
The recent lawsuit against Denise Rich was filed on behalf of Lee Goldberg, the former protector of a Cook Islands trust of which Rich is a beneficiary, in February. The case was dismissed in April, court records show.
The Cook Islands, a South Pacific tax haven, offers Swiss-style secrecy for wealthy investors.
The lawsuit accused Denise Rich and Richard Kilstock, a British real estate entrepreneur who is married to Rich’s daughter Daniella, of “transferring, moving or secreting trust assets, in violation of the trust’s guidelines and without the knowledge or permission of Goldberg.”
Denise Rich and Richard Kilstock denied the charges and accused Lee Goldberg of altering trust documents, court filings show.
Both Lee Goldberg and his attorney, Donald Thomas, declined to discuss the case. Denise Rich recently dismissed Lee Goldberg, one of her long-time lawyers, as protector of the trust.
Michael Heidt, who also represents Richard Kilstock in the case, declined to discuss the lawsuit.
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