Russian president Vladimir Putin has denied links to the leaked documents known as the Panama Papers. He views the leaks as a part of a heinous plot to weaken and destabilize Russia in his response to allegations of his alleged involvement with numerous transactions made to hide millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts.
“Our opponents are above all concerned by the unity and consolidation of the Russian nation, our multi-national Russian people. They are attempting to rock us from within, to make us more obedient. So they’ve created an information product,” said Putin, speaking from St. Petersburg.
According to a report by the Guardian, Vladimir Putin referred to the Panama Papers as an elaborate disinformation campaign perpetrated by the U.S. government. He then alluded to a tweet by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to underline the association between the journalists responsible for the Panama Papers and the U.S. as well as other anti-Russia elements.
“WikiLeaks has showed us that official people and official organs of the US are behind this,” explained Putin.
In lieu of this statement by Vladimir Putin that refers to the tweet in discrediting the Panama Papers, WikiLeaks then tweeted a response.
Claims that #PanamaPapers themselves are a 'plot' against Russia are nonsense. However hoarding, DC organization & USAID money tilt coverage— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 6, 2016
Putin stated that while his name doesn’t figure in any of the millions of leaked documents, Western media has pushed claims of his involvement in the offshore companies through the Panama Papers. The Kremlin had put blame on “Putinophobia” for much of the Panama Papers’ accusations that assert Vladimir Putin and his associates have covertly moved millions of dollars to offshore accounts. While Vladimir Putin’s name wasn’t explicitly mentioned, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) listed some of Putin’s closest allies as being involved in these offshore financial schemes.
Putin insisted that there’s no element of corruption on Russia’s end as alleged by the Panama Papers. There have been claims of Vladimir Putin being involved in corrupt practices with a friend, cellist Sergei Roldugin, who has been revealed by the Panama Papers to be the owner of $2 billion worth of offshore assets. Despite this, he maintains that Roldugin has done nothing wrong, adding that the musician spent his fortune in cultural projects and other philanthropic efforts in Russia.
“Almost all the money he earned he spent on musical instruments that he bought abroad,” said Putin of Roldugin. “I am proud to have friends like him. He is a brilliant musician.”
The Panama Papers are a set of 11.5 million confidential documents with details to 215,000 offshore companies that connect to individuals from over 200 countries and territories, which were listed by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They were then leaked by an anonymous inside source over a year earlier, which were then reviewed and organized by reporters and resources enlisted by the ICIJ. The findings were then published collectively as the Panama Papers on April 3, and a full list of the offshore companies is set to be released in early May.
The Inquisitr reported on the Panama Papers as soon as the news came out, which then turned out to be the largest leak in the history of world journalism, dwarfing other major leaks in sheer magnitude, including those from Wikileaks. While Vladimir Putin had not been explicitly mentioned in the documents, other world leaders have been implicated, including former Iceland prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who recently resigned due to the controversy caused by the Panama Papers.
[Photo by Dmitri Lovetsky, Pool/AP]