PRESIDENT Putin has denied “any element of corruption” over the Panama Papers leaks, saying his opponents are trying to destabilise Russia.
Mr Putin was speaking for the first time since the leak of millions of confidential documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The papers revealed a number of offshore companies owned by close associates of Mr Putin.
They suggest the companies may have been used for money laundering.
Putin friend in ‘money laundering ring’
Mr Putin, speaking live on TV, said Russia’s Western opponents “are worried by the unity and solidarity of the Russian nation… and that is why they are attempting to rock us from within, to make us more obedient”.
He said that because they could not find Mr Putin in the Panama papers “they’ve made an information product”.
“They’ve found a few of my acquaintances and friends… and scraped up something from there and stuck it together.”