Putin said on Thursday (April 7) that a friend of his named in the “Panama Papers” leaks had done nothing wrong and spent the money he earned from business on buying expensive musical instruments which he was donating to public institutions. Speaking for the first time since the revelations, which came with the leak of millions of confidential documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, Putin casually dismissed them, denying “any element of corruption.”
Then he repeated a line pushed by Russian state media, as well as Wikileaks, that the papers are merely a U.S.-orchestrated disinformation campaign waged against Russia to weaken its government and force regime change.
Speaking to supporters in St Petersburg, Putin said the leaks were part of an orchestrated attempt to destabilize Russia by fabricating allegations of corruption.
“More than anything our opponents are concerned not with it (Russia’s independent and self-sufficient economy), but with the unity and consolidation of the Russian nation, of multinational Russian people. Because of that attempts are made to destabilise the situation from within, to make us more agreeable and to shape us the way they want,” said Putin, in his first public comments on the leaks.
“There is a certain friend of the president of Russia, he did something, and probably there is a certain element of corruption there. What element? there is none,” Putin said, describing the allegations.
Putin said Roldugin was a brilliant musician and a minority shareholder in a Russian company.
“He is a minority shareholder in one of our companies. And he earns some money there. But of course these are not billions of dollars. It is nonsense, there is nothing of the kind.”
He said Roldugin had spent almost all the money he had made from the venture on acquiring expensive musical instruments abroad.
“But what is curious and interesting… I am proud of such people as Sergei Pavlovich (Roldugin) both having them as my friends and in general. Almost all the money he earned there he has spent on purchasing musical instruments abroad and then brought them to Russia. These are expensive items. We always welcome when someone does something like that. But he goes even further. I know that over the past few months he was dealing with paperwork in order to grant these musical instruments to the state institutions as their property,” Putin said.
“The more people like him we have, the better. And I am proud to have such friends,” said Putin.
If outrageous lie had a face it would be Putin’s face.