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MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. The Kremlin has offered apologies to Suddeutsche Zeitung for having mistakenly asserted that the largest German daily is owned by US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
During his Q&A session on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Panama Papers publication ""first appeared in the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which is a part of media holding company owned by American investment banking firm Goldman Sachs." The sponsors are obvious, and they "don’t even blush," the president added.
"Of course, we have apologized," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that this is the mistake of those who had prepared the documents for Putin. "There was indeed unconfirmed information, they did not check it and provided it to the president."
Suddeutsche Zeitung director Stefan Hilscher later said that the paper "does not belong to Goldman Sachs, either directly or indirectly." He said Suddeutsche Zeitung is 100% a subsidiary company of Sueddeutscher Verlag publishing house which is owned by Suedwestdeutsche Medien Holding (81.25%) and individuals (18.75%).
The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published on April 3 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.