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Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin ~ © Sputnik/ Sergey Guneev

#PanamaPapers: Social Media Users
Slam Mainstream Media Focus on Putin

(Sputnik News) ~ Dozens of high-profile politicians, including current world leaders, have been directly linked to the biggest data leak in history, but mainstream media has focused on the person who was not mentioned in the Mossack Fonseca documents at all – Russian President Vladimir Putin, causing a social media firestorm.

Putin’s name was splashed all over the headlines as details on more than 11.5 million secret files covering Mossack Fonseca’s four decades of operation started to emerge. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred to the coverage as “Putinophobia” that has become so severe that it is “practically impossible to speak well of Russia or any type of actions Russia does, or any success Russia enjoys.”

​”World leaders actually named in the #PanamaPapers but Putin, who is NOT named, is used by all media covering story?” Stacy Herbert asked on Twitter, referring to Saudi King Salman, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the current president of Argentina Mauricio Macri among others.

“Pictures of President Putin could be found on the front pages of highly-respected news publications around the globe. The Guardian and the Mail Online were both at it, despite the fact that in the 11.5 million documents that were published; Putin’s name was not mentioned once,” Jose Alvarez observed, commenting on a CNN story on the Panama Papers.

The story exposing how the rich and powerful hide their wealth broke on Sunday.

​”Immediate reaction of Western media was to place blame on #Assad and #Putin. But neither had offshore accounts in the leak. #PanamaPapers,” Jason Lemon tweeted. “I’m not saying #Putin isn’t guilty of any wrongdoing, I’m just pointing out the framing of the #PanamaPapers suggests a clear media bias.”

Twitter user Varyagi echoed the sentiment, by saying “That’s a fine picture of #Putin, but he is NOT among the world leaders #PanamaPapers exposes. Try again?”

​UK users have been baffled by the fact that mainstream media outlets focused their attention on Putin, but tried to downplay the fact that David Cameron’s father was a client of the Panama-based law firm that helped its clients launder money and avoid taxes.

​”How did the BBC and The Guardian miss the fact that Cameron’s father and other Tory top figures are implicated in the leak?” Thando Thembani Mogale asked, commenting on the Guardian’s Facebook page.

“Of all the people implicated in this that are of interest to the British people and the BBC (Blatantly Buggering children) do a full report on some Russians,” Dave Davis observed on Facebook. “Go on, mention someone British & drop them right in it, make Jimmy Saville turn in his grave.”

​Twitter user Varyagi offers his take on why the media coverage has been biased.

(PressTV) ~ The whistleblower website WikiLeaks says Washington was behind the recent massive release of financial documents, known as the Panama Papers, to besmirch Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The international organization said in its Twitter account on Wednesday that the attack on Putin was orchestrated by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and was financially supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and American billionaire George Soros.

WikiLeaks added, in another tweet, that the US government’s support for such an attack seriously undermines its “integrity”.

According to WikiLeaks spokesman and Icelandic investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson, the lack of big American names in the leak has not surprised the whistleblower organization.

“It seems to be skewed at least a way from American interest. There’s always a possibility that it’s not a journalistic bias but simply a bias in the documents themselves,” said Hrafnsson.

On Sunday, Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), said it had received a cache of 11.5 million leaked documents from the internal database of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, and shared them with more than 100 other international news outlets as well as the ICIJ.

The massive leak showed how the high-profile firm specializing in establishing shell companies has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions, and evade taxes.

The leaked files exposed the secret offshore dealings of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s relatives, some world leaders, and many sport and cinema celebrities.

They also included papers allegedly showing a suspected money-laundering ring run by Putin’s close allies. The Kremlin has rejected the allegations.

“Such ‘leaks’, in our view, are meant to target audiences overseas. It is also clear that the degree of Putinophobia has reached a point where to speak well about Russia, or about some of its actions and successes is impossible. One needs to speak [about Russia] in negative terms, the more the better, and when there’s nothing to say, you need to make things up. This is obvious to us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

WikiLeaks was founded by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange in 2006 and has since been releasing thousands of secret documents, including reports about the US military.



George Soros’ Anti-Kremlin Info Laundering
Backfires on Clinton, Cameron

(Sputnik News) ~ The Soros-funded framing of the document release aimed to smear Putin, but did more to expose the collusion of Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, and other Western scam artists.

On Sunday, the “Panama Papers” were released to the world, in the single greatest incriminating document leak in world history. The documents, all from a single Panamanian law firm specializing in tax sheltering, Mossack Fonseca, were released to a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The documents were reviewed and maintained by a shadowy network including George Soros and several CIA funded organizations, including the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Unsurprisingly, headlines relating to this group focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin, a world leader not even named within the Panama Papers.

In recent days, however, as international news agencies and curious civilians scour over the two terabytes of documents, with more to come — thanks to the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks — attention has turned toward Westerners implicated in the release.

Perhaps the most notable Western leader exposed in the Panama Papers is David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, whose father transitioned their family firm from Panama to Ireland after the leader took office. His father’s company dodged British taxes for over 30 years through the offshore arrangement, but the British Prime Minister insists that neither he nor his wife and children received any benefit from the holding that maintained the Cameron family’s fortune.

British Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn has called for an immediate investigation as to whether Cameron family wealth is still held in other offshore investments to the detriment of the British public. Corbyn denounced Cameron, saying “it’s not a private matter if tax has not paid so an investigation must take place.”

Additionally, on Tuesday, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson offered his resignation after the leak implicated the country’s leader in using offshore shell companies to mask political kickbacks and other forms of corruption.

It was also revealed that some 200 US citizens were also implicated. The list includes Americans who have since been accused or convicted of serious financial crimes, including securities fraud and Ponzi schemes.

Perhaps the most telling Panama Papers revelation of the past 24 hours came not from the documents themselves, but from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server. In a series of emails revealed yesterday, in 2011 then-Secretary of State Clinton pushed the Panama Free Trade Agreement, despite warnings from watchdog groups that the agreement would exacerbate the growth of tax havens and increase money laundering activity.

That trade deal, opposed by her Democratic presidential opponent Bernie Sanders, was actively lobbied for by Clinton’s State Department administration and Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal. Interestingly, the list of implicated leaders reads like a who’s who of Clinton Global Initiative supporters, from the king of Saudi Arabia to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Additionally, the most heavily implicated Western financial institution in the Panama Papers, Deutsche Bank, paid Clinton $485,000 in speaking fees shortly after the trade deal was ratified.

In 2011, Secretary Clinton released a statement lauding the agreement from a non-corruption angle, stating that it “will make it easier for American companies to sell their products” and that the Obama Administration “is constantly working to deepen our economic engagement throughout the world, and these agreements are an example of that commitment.”

On Tuesday, candidate Sanders blasted Clinton, saying that she “helped push the Panama Free Trade Agreement through Congress as Secretary of State and the results have been a disaster.”



Putin Denounces “Panama Papers”
As U.S. Plot To Destabilize Russia

(By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge) ~ The last few days days have been rife with speculation about the motivation, if any, behind the release of the Panama Papers, with the most prominent example coming from Wikileaks two days ago on Twitter which accused the journalist consortium behind the leak, the ICIJ, of being a“Washington DC based Ford, Soros funded soft-power tax-dodge which has a WikiLeaks problem” and adding that“PanamaPapers Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros.”

As we further suggested, the fact that none other than Rothschild, which is trying to corner the US-based “tax haven” sector, stands to benefit from the collapse of the Panama offshoring industry (as international clients who demand to maintain their anonymous status are forced to move to the US), may lead to further questions about a potential conflict of interest behind said release.

But while these and many other questions will remain unanswered, including why the ICIJ is cherrypicking which names to release especially as pertains to US clients of the Panamanian law firm, earlier today Russian president Putin made his first public announcement on the topic of the Panama Papers.

Acording to AP, Putin 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 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 destabilize us from within in order to make us more compliant,”he said.

President Vladimir Putin attends the Russian Popular Front’s third media forum,
Truth and Justice, featuring independent regional and local media. April 7, 2016

So here we’ve got some friend of the Russian president, he has done something, probably there is an aspect of corruption to it… But what aspect [exactly]? Well, there is none,” Putin said on Thursday, addressing a media forum in St. Petersburg. He also pointed out that he himself had not been mentioned in the leaked documents.

You are all journalists here and you know what an informational product is… They’ve plowed through offshore [funds]. [Putin] is not there, there is nothing to talk about. But the task has been assigned! So what have they done? They’ve created an informational product by having found some acquaintances and friends,” the president told the media forum.

According to Putin, the Panama Papers episode is yet another attempt to destabilize Russia from within, and make it “more agreeable.”

“The easiest way to do so is to induce some mistrust to authorities within the society,” Putin said, adding that the creators of the leak aimed at the unity of the multiethnic Russian people.

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.

Putin defended Rolgudin, 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 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. Roldugin used the money he earned as a minority shareholder of a Russian company to buy rare musical instruments abroad and hand them over to the Russian state.

I am proud of people like Sergey Pavlovich [Roldugin]… and am proud to have him among my friends,” Putin said, adding that claims that the cellist has billions are nonsense. “Almost all money that he has earnt he spent on buying music instruments abroad, which he then brought to Russia” and gave them to state institutions, Putin said.

“Without publicizing himself, he also has worked to organize concerts, promote Russian culture abroad and effectively paid his own money for that,” Putin added. “The more people like him we have, the better. And I’m proud to have friends like him.”

Putin contended that Washington has fanned allegations of Russian official corruption in order to weaken Moscow as the U.S. has become concerned about Russia’s growing economic and military might.

“The events in Syria have demonstrated Russia’s capability to solve problems far away from its borders,” he said, adding that Moscow has achieved its goal “to strengthen the Syrian statehood, its legitimate government bodies.”

He also touched on the topic of Ukraine, which yesterday suffered a major diplomatic loss after a Dutch referendum voted against an accession agreement meant to bring Ukraine and Europe closer together. Some of Russia’s counterparts on the international arena “got used to a monopoly” there “and don’t want to consider others,” he said, having also quoted some opinions on why relations with the West have worsened.

“Our position on the situation in the south-east of Ukraine, as well as smaller scale things, such as [Russia’s] refusal to extradite [Edward] Snowden have become irritants in our relations,” Putin said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, whowas explicitly named in the ICIJ leaks, had to be defended by Rothschild. As the FT writes, Rothschild Trust, a branch of Rothschild Wealth Management & Trust, on Thursdayconfirmed signing what it described as a transparent trust arrangement agreement to manage the assets of Petro Poroshenko, “an oligarch with business interests spanning from chocolates to television who was elected president of Ukraine following the 2013-2014 Maidan revolution.”

The emailed statement follows reports and claims of possible impropriety by Mr Poroshenko in setting up a British Virgin Islands-registered company, writes Roman Olearchyk in Kiev. Documents leaked from Panama’s law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed Mr Poroshenko’s registration of a BVI-registered offshore company.

In an emailed statement seemingly aimed to dispel concerns, the Zurich-based company said:

As a matter of principle, we never comment on individuals or client relationships, but on this occasion we have been authorized by our client to confirm that Rothschild Trust has been appointed by Mr Poroshenko as trustee of a blind trust to hold his shares in Roshen. This follows over 12 months of extensive preparation, and the relevant trust deed was signed on 14th January 2016. The trust has been modelled on international standards for politicians requiring trusts to hold their assets while they are in office.

Despite his name explicitly appearing in the ICIJ files, Poroshenko has gotten zero media attention across western countries. We wonder if Rothschild will pen comparable “explanation letters” for other oligarchs or pundits who tend to have a pro-Western bent?

 US government, Soros funded Panama Papers
to attack Putin, Russia – WikiLeaks

(RT News) ~ Washington is behind the recently released offshore revelations known as the Panama Papers, WikiLeaks has claimed, saying that the attack was “produced” to target Russia and President Putin.

On Wednesday, the international whistleblowing organization said on Twitter that the Panama Papers data leak was produced by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), “which targets Russia and [the] former USSR.” The “Putin attack” was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and American hedge fund billionaire George Soros, WikiLeaks added, saying that the US government’s funding of such an attack is a serious blow to its integrity.

Organizations belonging to Soros have been proclaimed to be “undesirable” in Russia. Last year, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office recognized Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects.

Prosecutors then said the activities of the institute and its assistance foundation were a threat to the basis of Russia’s constitutional order and national security. Earlier this year, the billionaire US investor alleged that Putin is “no ally” to US and EU leaders, and that he aims “to gain considerable economic benefits from dividing Europe.”

“The American government is pursuing a policy of destabilization all over the world, and this [leak] also serves this purpose of destabilization. They are causing a lot of people all over the world and also a lot of money to find its way into the [new] tax havens in America. The US is preparing for a super big financial crisis, and they want all that money in their own vaults and not in the vaults of other countries,” German journalist and author Ernst Wolff told RT.

Earlier this week, the head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which worked on the Panama Papers, said that Putin is not the target of the leak, but rather that the revelations aimed to shed light on murky offshore practices internationally. “It wasn’t a story about Russia. It was a story about the offshore world,” ICIJ head Gerard Ryle told TASS.

His statement came in stark contrast to international media coverage of the “largest leak in offshore history.” Although neither Vladimir Putin nor any members of his family are directly mentioned in the papers, many mainstream media outlets chose the Russian president’s photo when breaking the story.

Panama leak reveals more about Western journalism than Vladimir Putin

We have innuendo, we have a complete lack of standards on the part of the western media, and the major mistake made by the leaker was to give these documents to the corporate media,” former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT. “This would be humorous if it weren’t so serious,” he added.

The degree of Putinophobia has reached a point where to speak well about Russia, or about some of its actions and successes, is impossible. One needs to speak [about Russia] in negative terms, the more the better, and when there’s nothing to say, you need to make things up,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said, commenting on anti-Russian sentiment triggered by the publications.

Panama Papers not ‘responsible journalism,’ should be released in full

WikiLeaks spokesman and Icelandic investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson has called for the leaked data to be put online so that everybody could search through the papers. He said withholding of the documents could hardly be viewed as “responsible journalism.”

When they are saying that this is responsible journalism, I totally disagree with the overall tone of that,” the co-founder of the Icelandic Center for Investigative Journalism told RT’s Afshin Rattansi in Going Underground, when asked about his reaction to the ICIJ head saying that the consortium is not WikiLeaks, and is trying to show that journalism can be done responsibly by not releasing the papers in full.

They should be available to the general public in such a manner so everybody, not just the group of journalists working directly on the data, can search it,” Hrafnsson said.

Russian investigators to launch criminal probe after Panama data leak

The WikiLeaks spokesman also told RT he’s not surprised that there have been no big American names in the leaked 11.5 million documents of the Panamanian law company.”It seems to be skewed at least a way from American interest. There’s always a possibility that it’s not a journalistic bias but simply a bias in the documents themselves,” Hrafnsson said, adding that Mossack Fonseca “is simply one law firm in Panama servicing and providing tax haven companies mostly out of the BVI [British Virgin Islands].”


It doesn’t even give the entire picture,” he concluded.


Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin ~ © Sputnik/ Sergey Guneev


#PanamaPapers: What They Didn’t Tell You
About Putin’s True Wealth

(Sputnik News) ~ Vladimir Putin’s personal wealth has always been a source of speculation. So much so that when the Panama Papers scandal broke out on Sunday, everyone seemed to have focused on the only person not mentioned in more than 11.5 million documents leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The latest figure provided in the Panama leaks places Putin’s wealth at no less than $2 billion. Well, not Putin’s personal fortune, to be exact. This is what a close friend of the Russian president is alleged to own. No direct links to the Russian leader were offered.

The $2 billion supposedly owned by famed cellist Sergey Roldugin is surely not as exciting as the $40 billion Putin must be hiding in his offshore coffers in addition to the super expensive yachts, palaces and Swiss watches. After all, the Russian president has often been claimed to be one of the richest men in the world.

The $40 billion estimate comes from an unsubstantiated claim that Putin owns stakes in three major oil and gas companies. It pales in comparison with the $200 billion that William Browder, the CEO of investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, thinks Putin has. He told CNN as much in February 2015. Browder, once a Putin supporter, was convicted of tax evasion by a Russian court and sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.

Putin himself confirmed that he was indeed the richest man in the world in 2008, but it is not what you might think.

“I am the wealthiest man not just in Europe but in the whole world. I collect emotions, I am wealthy in that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with the leadership of a great nation such as Russia – I believe that is my greatest wealth,” Bloomberg View quoted Putin as saying.

On a more serious note, Vladimir Putin’s income is open to the public. According to documents published by the Kremlin in April 2015, Putin’s annual income in 2014 amounted to 7,654,042 rubles (approximately $150,000). The Russian president also owns a 77-square-meter apartment, plot of land, a garage and four cars.

For comparison: US President Barack Obama is making $400,000 a year, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s salary is said to be approximately $230,000.


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