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    #PanamaPapers: Leak That Could Sink World Leaders Does Not Implicate Putin

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    #PanamaPapers: Biggest Ever Offshore Leaks (94)

    The Panama Papers scandal shows no signs of abating as it has moved away from President Vladimir Putin, not mentioned in a single of the 11.5 million leaked documents, to those high-profile figures, who – unlike the Russian leader – are actually linked to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    Not everyone appears to be happy. According to one theory, the Russian president was not really affected by the scandal because he was the one who orchestrated the whole thing.

    "My thinking is that this could have been a Russian intelligence operation, which orchestrated a high-profile leak and established total credibility by 'implicating' (not really implicating) Russia and keeping the source hidden," Clifford Gaddy, an economist specializing in Russia, wrote in a blog post published on the Brookings website.

    Some of the documents, Gaddy maintains, will serve as the basis for anti-corruption investigations in several countries. These campaigns could "topple some minor regimes, destroy a few careers and fortunes," he added.

    The Panama Papers claimed its first victim on Tuesday when Iceland's then Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson announced he would step down.

    However, those named in the documents, Gaddy continues, are not the real targets of the leak if the Russians are truly behind it.

    The economist suggested that some of the names could have been removed from the files that an anonymous source transferred to Süddeutsche Zeitung. If so, then the ultimate reason for sharing Mossack Fonseca documents is to blackmail those, whose names were removed from the papers.

    "That means the real story lies in the information being concealed, not revealed. You reveal secrets in order to destroy; conceal in order to control," Gaddy suggested.

    This could be the reason why only a few Americans have been named in connection with the Panama Papers scandal. Other reasons abound.

    The documents, leaked from Mossack Fonseca, are not open to the public. They could well contain names of American citizens, but this information has not been released yet. After all, looking through 11.5 million files takes time. Another explanation has it that Americans prefer other tax heavens, including the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and even America itself.

    ​When it comes to President Vladimir Putin, his income is a matter of public record.

    #PanamaPapers: Biggest Ever Offshore Leaks (94)


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