President Putin was addressing the country in his annual phone-in with the nation. A male listener called and asked him why he did not react to all the “western media slander” concerning the Panama papers. Putin’s answer was a bit surprising as he acknowledge the information to be accurate.
Putin answered this male citizen saying, “strange as it may seem, they are not publishing unreliable information about offshores. The information is accurate.”
“I get the impression it (the report) was put together not even by journalists but most likely by lawyers,” Putin went on referring to the leaked information, “they do not specifically accuse anyone of anything.”
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Panama Papers revealed that Putin and his associates, very noticeably cellist Sergei Roldugin, "secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies,"
Now, even though Putin has admitted the above, he has also stated that most of the money had been spent on musical instruments and accused the United States as the one to blame for the leak of the information. He alleged that the disclosures were the works of “staff of US official institutions” and called them “acts of provocation” as parliamentary elections are taking place in September.
Putin said that “we should not expect any repentance from them, they will keep doing it anyway and the closer the elections, the more smear campaigns there will be.” At the same time he claimed that Russia “cannot be manipulated” and it must be “spoken to with respect”.
He stood in defense of his cellist insisting that the funds were used for the purchase of expensive musical instruments and that he is in no way corrupt.
In this way, Putin takes a patriotic tone and alleges that the US is behind the leaking of the controversial Panama Papers.