RPT-UPDATE 1-Russia's Putin: Panama papers are a 'provocation'
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MOSCOW, April 14 (Reuters) - Media reports about offshore accounts in Panama are a "provocation", Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, blaming U.S. officials and U.S. bank Goldman Sachs for attempts to influence Russian elections.
The leak of confidential documents from a Panamanian law firm earlier this month has had political repercussions in many countries, after shining a spotlight on the offshore wealth of politicians and public figures worldwide.
The files, which contained the details of clients around the world, prompted Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland, to quit, put British Prime Minister David Cameron under pressure over his family's financial affairs, and sparked calls in Ukraine to investigate President Petro Poroshenko.
The revelations included details of offshore companies belonging to Sergei Roldulgin, a famous Russian cellist who was a childhood friend of Putin and is godfather to his eldest daughter, Maria.
Putin reiterated his defence of Rodulgin, portraying the scandal as a conspiracy orchestrated by U.S. officials and financiers aimed against Putin and his government.
"Who does it, these provocations? We know that there are some staff of official American institutions," he said at an annual televised phone-in with the Russian public.
Putin said that German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which he said had been first to publish the Panama documents, belonged to a leading U.S. bank.
"Süddeutsche Zeitung is a media holding company owned by an American financial corporation, Goldman Sachs," he said. "That is, the ears of the instigators are sticking out everywhere, but they do not even redden." Continuación...