Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Russian President Vladimir Putin has very publically labelled the Panama Papers revelations an attack on himself and the country.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the scandal as “Putinophobia abroad,” despite the leader not actually being named in the files.
“It’s obvious that the intention, the main target, of this attack, was in the first place against our country, and against President Putin himself,” he said.
He said reports of secret offshore deals and loans worth two billion dollars being linked to Putin’s inner circle were merely an attempt to discredit the president, ahead of September’s parliamentary elections.
Peskov added that the documents contain “nothing concrete and nothing new” about Putin.
The people of Moscow, however, were less fervently sure about how much of the leaked information to believe.
“You know what I think about all of this? It hasn’t been proven. They haven’t caught these people red-handed. It’s just tabloid reporting.”
“To some extent of course there is corruption. I can’t explain all the details. But it does obviously exist in the country.”
The trail left by the Panama Papers implicates many of Putin’s associates and close friends in the scandal, although the financial schemes outlined in the eleven-million-plus documents are not necessarily illegal.