Panama papers, Putin and the US

Vladimir Putin was implicated by recently released Panama papers, but Putin claims the release was part of a US plot to weaken Russia.

The US State Department has rejected Putin’s allegations

NZ Herald: Putin says Panama Papers part of US plot to weaken Russia

President Vladimir Putin has denied having any links to offshore accounts and described the Panama Papers document leaks scandal as part of a U.S.-led plot to weaken Russia.

Putin also defended a cellist friend named as the alleged owner of an offshore company, describing him as a philanthropist who spent his own funds to buy rare musical instruments for Russian state collections.

Speaking at a media forum in St. Petersburg, Putin said Western media pushed the claims of his involvement in offshore businesses even though his name didn’t feature in any of the documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm.

Putin described the allegations as part of the U.S.-led disinformation campaign waged against Russia in order to weaken its government.

“They are trying to destabilise us from within in order to make us more compliant,” he said.

The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said the documents it obtained indicated that Russian cellist Sergei Roldugin acted as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists, and, perhaps, the president himself.

The ICIJ said the documents show how complex offshore financial deals channeled as much as $2 billion to a network of people linked to the Russian president.

Putin said Roldugin, a longtime friend, did nothing wrong. He said he was proud of Roldugin, adding that the musician spent his personal money to advance cultural projects.

The US State Department has responded.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner rejected the notion that the U.S. is behind the allegations. “I would reject the premise or the assertion that we’re in any way involved in the actual leak of these documents,” he told reporters in Washington.

The lack of prominent Americans named so far in the Panama papers raised some suspicions that the papers may have been filtered by someone with targeted interests. An explanation has been put forward – Mossack Fonseca simply didn’t have many US clients.

Washington Post reports:

One nagging question since the Panama Papers story broke is why so few prominent Americans have so far shown up holding offshore accounts.

The lawyer at the center of the scandal has an explanation: he prefers not to have them as clients.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ramon Fonseca said that he and his German-born partner at Mossack Fonseca like to vacation in the U.S., but they have longstanding ties to Europe and have always focused their business there and Latin America. The few American clients the firm has taken are mostly to handle visas and other requests from Panama’s burgeoning expatriate retirement community.

Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the newspaper that first obtained the 11.5 million confidential documents that make up the Panama Papers, said the files included copies of 200 American passports and 3,500 shareholders in offshore companies listed U.S. addresses. That’s a small fraction of the more than 220,000 offshore companies Mossack Fonseca says it has created in the past four decades.

No doubt there is a lot to come out yet.

 

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11 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  9th April 2016

    When you send money overseas its the US that wants to know where its going and who sent it. That narrows down the suspects for this criminal act to one. Land of the free my arse.

    There were ways of dealing with law breakers while preserving the privacy of the law abiding but this saturation bombing is appalling.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th April 2016

    Murk within murk here. Hard to believe anything anyone says, particularly Fonseca.

    Reply
  3. David

     /  9th April 2016

    Interesting that all most everything released in the Panama papers is about various dictators and associates in corrupt countries hiding the loot they have gained from their countries, yet the media narrative is mostly about tax dodging ‘elites’, which seem almost non-existent in the information released. The only exception seems to be the PM of Iceland.

    Reply
  4. Klik Bate

     /  9th April 2016

    Reply
  5. Oliver

     /  9th April 2016

    Let’s not let John Key and his criminal mates get away with this.

    “New Zealand’s role in the international scandal is real. Our offshore trusts have been used by those looking for anonymity, because if the beneficiaries and their incomes are offshore, there is no requirement for information disclosure.


    By running money through various tax havens and vehicles like New Zealand trusts the ultimate beneficiaries are hidden, their tax liabilities avoided and very likely facilitate money laundering in some instances.

    New Zealand doesn’t demand a detailed and transparent register of these trusts because they wouldn’t be paying tax in New Zealand anyway. So there is little threat to our tax base, but it would cost money to administer the register.”

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/78729107/Shamubeel-Eaqub-Panama-Papers-show-NZ-is-complicit-in-criminal-behaviour

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  9th April 2016

      Considering it was Labour which set up the laws around how these trusts operate in New Zealand I suggest your conspiracy theory should therefore be directed at them……..even then your conspiracy theory is just that – no smoking gun.

      Reply
      • Oliver

         /  9th April 2016

        I’ve heard the same pathetic Labour started excuses from Johnny boy him self. When Labour started it 15 years ago the world was different place. But national have known for along time that criminals can now exploit this vulnerability to democracy, they have been warned by the Ird and deliberately chose not to do anything about it. I wonder why? Maybe we will find out soon.

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  9th April 2016

          Oliver: “When Labour started it 15 years ago the world was different place”.

          No it wasn’t – perhaps you just had your head buried in the sand back then?

          Reply
        • Oliver

           /  9th April 2016

          We didn’t even have fb or Google back then. Think about it.

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th April 2016

      Oh dear, Eaqub has joined Hickey on the clickbait free-lance financial columnist circuit. At least Eaqub is really an economist which perhaps is why he is now commenting on stuff he knows nothing about rather than economics where he would be held to professional standards.

      John Nash knows rather more about this subject than Eaqub – or Oliver.

      Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th April 2016

    What duty do journalists have to respect the privacy of people who have not committed any crime and are not public figures?

    Reply

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