The prime minister of Iceland resigned Tuesday from his elected post after his efforts to conceal millions of dollars in investments were revealed in a massive data leak from a Panama-based law firm that apparently helped facilitate similar efforts from other world leaders and prominent figures. In doing so, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson became the first head of state to step down after more than 11 million documents were made public this week detailing the role that law firm Mossack Fonseca played in setting up offshore companies and secret accounts through which money laundering and tax evasion regularly took place.

A total of 12 current or former world leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, were identified in the trove of leaked documents tying tens of thousands of people to the law firm. Gunnlaugsson, who has led Iceland since 2013, was under significant pressure after a parliamentary session Monday in which several officials called for him to step down.

Gunnlaugsson Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson attends a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden, in this June 19, 2013, file photo. He stepped down Tuesday, April 5, 2016, after the Panama Pares revealed questionable business dealings. Photo: REUTERS

Agriculture Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson announced Gunnlaugsson's resignation Tuesday after the country's president rejected Gunnlaugsson's request to dissolve parliament. Jóhannsson is expected to now serve as prime minister, while Gunnlaugsson will continue as leader of the Progressive Party.



Gunnlaugsson and his wife reportedly bought a company in 2007 from Mossack Fonseca via the Luxembourg arm of Landsbanki, considered one of Iceland's three major banks, reported ABC in Australia. He was later elected amid anti-bank sentiment following the global financial recession in 2008.

At the time of those reported actions by Gunnlaugsson and his wife, the couple was living in the United Kingdom and used the offshore company Wintris Inc. in Panama to invest profits from the prime minister's wife's sale of shares in her family business. But Gunnlaugsson's office said Sunday the prime minister's portion of shares was incorrect, as “it had always been clear to both of them that the prime minister’s wife owned the assets.”

When asked about Wintris during a videotaped interview with Swedish public television station SVT, Gunnlaugsson seemed shocked. "You are asking me nonsense," he said in a video that has been widely shared in recent days.

Police in Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik watched protests Monday that drew as many as 10,000 people, a number that was fueled by Gunnlaugsson's reported cavalier response to the demonstration. "It's not like everyone is going to attend the protest," Gunnlaugsson said, reported the Iceland Monitor.