Spain's Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria has resigned over ties to offshore companies revealed by the Panama Papers leak. Soria announced his decision to step down on 15 April, days before he was due to refer to parliament about his links to a Bahamian firm.
"After discussion with the Prime Minister, I have taken the irrevocable decision to submit my resignations from all functions as Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism," he said in a statement.
Soria is the second high-profile government official to resign over the Panama Papers scandal after Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson. Both politicians were named in the massive stash of documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which revealed how the world's rich and powerful squirrel their wealth away in offshore tax havens.
The acting minister, who took office in 2011 under conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, was listed as the director of Bahama-based company named UK Lines Limited, which was set up by Mossack Fonseca. The document dated back to 1992, three years before he entered politics.
Soria, 58, initially denied any connection to the firm, saying he never held "shares, or participation, or any position of responsibility" in it and his name must have featured in the files because of a mistake.
On 14 April, however, local media linked him to another offshore company, the Jersey- registered Mechanical Trading Limited, of which he was said to be the administrator. Announcing his resignations, he said the decision partially owed to the "lack of precise information on events that occurred more than 20 years ago", adding his prolonged stay in office would have caused "obvious damage" to the ruling Popular Party.
Spain might hold new elections in the summer as parties have so far failed to agree a coalition government after a December 2015 vote resulted in no clear winner. Holding offshore companies and accounts is not inherently illegal, but they can be used to hide assets from the taxman or launder money from illicit sources.