Iceland veered closer to early elections Tuesday, but the country's president rejected a bid from beleaguered Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to dissolve parliament pending talks with other leaders.

Speaking after a meeting with Gunnlaugsson, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he wanted to consult other party leaders, notably Gunnlaugsson's coalition partner, the Independence Party, if there was "support for dissolving" the legislature.

Gunnlaugsson faces a looming no-confidence vote in parliament, and has been urged to resign, following a claim that he and his wife secretly channelled funds to an offshore tax haven in the Caribbean.

The president was later Tuesday to meet Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson, who has been finance minister since 2013 when the centre-right coalition took office.

Elections are not scheduled until next year, and with poor opinion polls both the Independence Party and Gunnlaugsson's Progressive Party are in no immediate rush to go to the polls.

Gunnlaugsson earlier met Benediktsson who cut short a visit to the United States. Afterwards, the prime minister said on Facebook that "if the parliamentarians of the (Independence) party are not willing to support the government in finishing their joint work, I would dissolve the parliament and call for elections as soon as possible."

He has denied any wrongdoing and said his wife had paid taxes due.

Thousands of people assembled outside parliament late Monday in a protest reminiscent of the popular protests that early 2009 contributed to the resignation of a previous government in the wake of the global financial crisis.

A new protest was planned late Tuesday.

The Panama-based law firm at the centre of a massive data leak earlier rejected wrongdoing.

"These reports rely on supposition and stereotypes, and play on the public's lack of familiarity with the work of firms like ours," Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca said late Monday.

Accusations have also been levelled at members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle among many other public figures.

In a four-page document, law firm Mossack Fonseca reiterated that it had "never been accused or charged in connection with criminal wrongdoing," following the leak of millions of documents to the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The publication of the data also reignited the debate over how the world's wealthy make use of tax-avoidance schemes not available to most of the world's population. The firm set up offshore companies for clients for "a variety of legitimate reasons, including conducting cross-border mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, estate planning, personal safety, and restructurings and pooling of investment capital from investors residing in different jurisdictions who want a neutral legal and tax regime that does not benefit or disadvantage any one investor," Mossack Fonseca said. China Tuesday blocked access to the Panama papers on the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which was one of the agencies compiling the material. Beijing also issued censorship orders to remove all references to the scandal from local media posts, and block searches for Panama or the names of Chinese nationals in the report, according to a report by Hong Kong-based China Digital Times. The brother-in-law of Chinese President Xi Jinping and family members of at least eight current and former members of the politburo standing committee were named as having set up offshore companies through Mossack Fonseca.

The so-called Panama Papers, which disclosed the activities of 214,000 purported shell companies, were obtained by Sueddeutsche, which has said the employee who leaked the documents was risking his life.

The chief executive of Nordic banking group Nordea, Casper von Koskull, told Swedish television late Monday it would terminate all cooperation with the Panama-based firm.

Nordea did not condone tax evasion, he said.

Leaked documents published in Nordic media suggested Nordea International Private Banking in Luxembourg had helped wealthy customers set up companies in tax havens.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.