Spanish minister resigns over Panama Papers

Spanish minister Jose Manuel Soria resigns after his name was linked to offshore companies in the Panama Papers leak 

Former Spanish interior minister Jose Manuel Soria
Former Spanish interior minister Jose Manuel Soria

Spanish industry minister Jose Manuel Soria has resigned after his name was linked to offshore companies in Panama.

Soria came under scrutiny this week over his involvement in U.K. Lines, an offshore firm set up by Mossack Fonseca – a Panamanian law firm.

He first denied any involvement with the firm and argued that his name appeared on the list by mistake. However, he later backracked as new revelations showed he was involved in a similarly named company registered in the United Kingdom.

Calls for his resignation intensified after El Mundo newspaper released a document from the Jersey, U.K.-based company on Thursday that carried Soria’s signature.

“All political activity should be exemplary, including when it comes providing explanations,” Soria said in statement on Friday. “When that is not the case, you have to take responsibility accordingly.”

A leak earlier this month of millions of financial documents from Mossack Fonseca, exposing billions of dollars in assets hidden in tax havens around the world, has set off a global furor.

Seeking to contain the fallout from the scandal -- implicating everyone from world leaders to prominent business people -- some governments have pledged to crack down on tax evasion and money laundering to help regain public trust.

The G20 finance ministers and central bankers will meet in Washington this week, and are expected to urge Panama to do more to share information about companies registered there.

France, working closely with Italy, Spain and Germany, wants G-20 nations to make it tough for people to hide behind trusts or foundations to avoid paying taxes. 

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