Presidential Couple Still Under Tax Spotlight Skip to content

Presidential Couple Still Under Tax Spotlight

There are still unanswered questions about the offshore company Lasca Finance Limited, which was, or is, owned by the family of Iceland’s First Lady, Dorrit Moussaieff.

The company’s existence became public knowledge on Monday—a few days after President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson denied, live on CNN, any involvement with offshore companies by himself or his family. He had previously made the same assurance in an interview with Fréttablaðið.

As exposed by Kjarninn and the Reykjavík Grapevine on Monday, the company appeared on the annual accounts of Dorrit’s family’s company, the jewelry firm Moussaieff Limited, between 2000 and 2006 and was registered in the British Virgin Islands. In 2005, the company sold its ten percent share in Lasca Finance to Dorrit’s parents, Schlomo and Alisa Moussaieff. The purchase price ran into the tens of millions of Icelandic krónur, which is an indication that the value of Lasca overall was probably hundreds of millions.

It is not clear what happened to Lasca after this. A reply from the president’s office to Kjarninn says that neither Ólafur nor Dorrit know anything about the company. Schlomo died last year and Alisa does not remember anything about the company, the statement says.

Grapevine reported that at around the same time as Lasca disappeared from the family accounts, a new company, Moussaieff Limited, appears, registered in Hong Kong. Alisa is registered as owner of the company. Hong Kong is not considered a tax haven, but it does rank number two on a list of financial sector secrecy.

Icelanders first got to know Dorrit in 1999 and she married the President four years later. The First Lady has always been a popular figure in Iceland.

In June 2013 it was reported that at the end of 2012 Dorrit had moved her registered domicile away from Iceland to the UK. In a statement at the time, she explained that when acknowledging the fact that her husband would not always be president, she decided to put some energy into her work in London—especially given the fact that her parents, who had always run the family business, were getting so old.

The presidential couple rejected claims at the time that the reason for moving her registered address to London was in any way a tax dodge. In fact, Viðskiptablaðið reported in 2012 that the couple did not pay any wealth tax in Iceland, even though the Moussaieff family fortune runs into tens of billions of Icelandic krónur.

Vísir has sent a list of questions to the First Couple, as it is claimed there are many questions still left unanswered. No reply has yet been received.

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