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Kremlin spokesman claims US officials apologized to Putin before Panama Papers publication

April 08, 12:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the Kremlin spokesman, the activity of Russian cellist Sergey Roldugin, whose name emerged in the massive data leak known as the Panama Papers, is his private affair
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. American officials brought their apologies to Russian President Vladimir Putin before the publication of the so-called Panama Papers, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

"This was earlier, before the Panama Papers," Peskov said, giving no more details. "As the president did not name those who did this I have no right to do this," he added.

Speaking at the media forum of the All-Russia People's Front in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Putin said Western officials sometimes allow themselves to be rude in public. "We’ve already heard apologies for that from some administration officials. Not because they feel ashamed, but because they are cleverer than those who had done that," he said.

The Russian leader said when the officials from the US Department of State or the US administration say some rude things that means that they expose themselves as interested persons which is bad for the United States from the standpoint of achieving the final goal. "And this is very good for us, because we know well who ordered the music," Putin said.

Activity of Russian musician named in Panama Papers is ‘private affair’

Peskov also said the activity of Russian cellist Sergey Roldugin, whose name emerged in the massive data leak known as the Panama Papers, is his private affair that is not against the law.

"This is an absolutely private issue that concerns only Roldugin. That’s until this is in line with our laws," Peskov told reporters. "There was no and is no information that this contradicts the current Russian laws. We should judge from this."

Cellist Roldugin, who featured in the recent Panama Papers revelations as a close friend of the Russian president, was accused of being involved in secret offshore schemes.

Speaking at the media forum of the All-Russia People's Front in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Putin said he was proud of friendship with the musician. "Nearly all the money he earned he has spent on buying musical instruments abroad and he brought them to Russia," Putin said, adding that all of the instruments were "expensive things."

The president recalled that Roldugin was one of the best musicians in Russia. He had held a seat on the panel of judges at the Tchaikovsky International Musical contest. And he had started his career in St. Petersburg as the rector of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Roldugin is a minority shareholder in one of Russian companies and makes some money there," Putin said, adding that surely the musician did not make "billions of dollars."

The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published last Sunday extracts from 11.5 million documents with data on offshore accounts of some incumbent and former world leaders. The report dubbed the Panama Papers is based on information leaks from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which provides assistance in registering companies in offshore zones. Authors of the investigation claim that these operations could be tied to associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Russian leader’s name is not actually mentioned in the files.

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