Spanish minister resigns after links to offshore deals alleged

  • Reuters, Madrid
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2016 20:25 IST
This file photo taken on January 28, 2015 shows Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism Jose Manuel Soria attending the inauguration of the FITUR International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid. (AFP)

Spain’s acting industry minister Jose Manuel Soria resigned on Friday following allegations of links to offshore dealings which emerged after he was named in the Panama Papers.

Soria, who denied all wrongdoing, said he was stepping down to limit any damage to the caretaker government, the conservative People’s Party (PP), following reports of alleged links to an offshore company on the British island of Jersey.

Broadcaster La Sexta and news website El Confidencial said they had documents showing he headed an offshore firm with his brother.

The government said acting Economy Minister Luis de Guindos would take on the Industry Minister’s brief alongside his current responsibilities.

Soria’s resignation comes as Spain faces the likelihood of a second general election in June after a December ballot ended inconclusively.

Latest polls have shown the PP gaining ground, despite a string of corruption scandals involving regional politicians this year, as voters tire of left-wing parties’ failure to put aside differences to form a coalition government.

Leaks from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have embarrassed several world leaders and shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies by revealing the financial arrangements of prominent figures.

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped down earlier this month after documents linked him to an offshore company.

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