Putin makes first comments on Panama Papers scandal

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian leader sees no 'element of corruption' in offshore revelations

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he sees no element of corruption in revelations of the so-called Panama Papers.

"Here is some friend of the Russian president, he did something there, and perhaps there is some element of corruption in this... What element? There is none," Putin said at an All-Russia People's Front media forum in St. Petersburg on April 7, adding that he himself is not even mentioned in the Panama Papers.

Putin described the Panama Papers, millions of leaked documents containing details about numerous offshore companies registered with a Panamanian corporate service provider, as "an attempt to shake the situation [in Russia] from within, make us more compliant, and tar us the way they want."

"And what's the easiest way? It's by infusing some mistrust in society toward government bodies and the government, and by setting people against each other," said Putin, adding that this plan was "brilliantly employed during the tragic years of WWI."

The publication of the so-called Panama Papers on April 3 may have been the largest leak in the history of world journalism. The offshore scandal, following an investigation carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, was the result of the leak of about 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossac Fonseca and involves government officials from Iceland, the UK, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and other countries.

Part of the report is dedicated to 12 Russian politicians and businessmen with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who allegedly have $2 billion stashed in offshore accounts in Panama.

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