Russia blames the CIA

While the Panama papers do not mention Vladimir Putin specifically, they show a trail of transfers and off shore companies used to move $2 billion, some from state affiliates, to many of his closest associates.

An infographic from RT in a piece reporting Putin and the Panama papers.
An infographic from RT in a piece reporting Putin and the Panama papers.

They show assets owned by Sergei Roldugin, a professional cellist and close friend of Putin, as well as $1 billion dollars in loans from the state-affiliated Russian Commercial Bank were put into an offshore entity known as Sandalwood Continental.

Russian media initially reported on the global document leak, but not Putin’s connection to it. An early report from RT, Russia’s state-affiliated English-language media outlet, described the leaks without mentioning Putin once.

As public awareness of the leaks grew, the Russian government has called the media’s reaction to it “Putinophobia.” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has stressed that the papers make no mention of Putin directly, and has questioned the report’s veracity:

We know this so-called journalistic community perfectly well, it is clear to us that a number of journalists who are part of it have hardly majored in journalism; there are many former representatives of the [US] State Department and the CIA, along with other intelligence agencies.

Russian media has in turn highlighted David Cameron’s appearance in the papers, and argued that under-reporting his involvement shows inherent anti-Putin bias.

Britain demands privacy

British prime minister David Cameron’s father Ian helped run “Blairmore Holdings,” a Bahamas investment fund named after the family’s Aberdeenshire family estate, for thirty years. It managed millions of dollars of money for wealthy Brits—and never paid any British income tax, the Guardian reported.

The situation is awkward, to say the least, for the current prime minister, who has been agitating for more transparency and an international crackdown on tax avoidance. When asked whether Cameron family money was invested in the fund, the prime minister’s spokesman called the situation a “private matter.”

His response was quickly, and mercilessly mocked:

Malaysia hopes it just blows over

The son of Malaysian Prime Minister Razak Najib, Nazifuddin Najib, was affiliated with two offshore entities created with the help of Mossack Fonseca, the investigation shows. In 2009 he became co-director of a company known as Jay Marriot International, which the law firm registered in the British Virgin Islands. In 2012, he became director of PCJ International Venture Limited, also registered in the British Virgin islands.

Nazifuddin Najib told ICJ that the entities had not conducted any “business activities” since their formation. The Malaysian administration has yet to issue a statement about the papers.

Some Malaysian media outlets have reported on Nazifuddin Najib’s involvement, but The Star and New Straits Times, the nation’s two largest English-language papers, have not.

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