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US government, Soros behind Panama Papers leak to ‘target’ Putin: WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks says the US was behind the Panama Papers leak to target the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks says Washington was behind the recent massive release of financial documents, known as the Panama Papers, to besmirch Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The international organization said in its Twitter account on Wednesday that the attack on Putin was orchestrated by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and was financially supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and American billionaire George Soros.

WikiLeaks added, in another tweet, that the US government's support for such an attack seriously undermines its “integrity”.  

According to WikiLeaks spokesman and Icelandic investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson, the lack of big American names in the leak has not surprised the whistleblower organization.

"It seems to be skewed at least a way from American interest. There's always a possibility that it's not a journalistic bias but simply a bias in the documents themselves,” said Hrafnsson.

On Sunday, Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), said it had received a cache of 11.5 million leaked documents from the internal database of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, and shared them with more than 100 other international news outlets as well as the ICIJ. 

The massive leak showed how the high-profile firm specializing in establishing shell companies has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions, and evade taxes.

The leaked files exposed the secret offshore dealings of Chinese President Xi Jinping's relatives, some world leaders, and many sport and cinema celebrities.

They also included papers allegedly showing a suspected money-laundering ring run by Putin's close allies. The Kremlin has rejected the allegations.

“Such ‘leaks’, in our view, are meant to target audiences overseas. It is also clear that the degree of Putinophobia has reached a point where to speak well about Russia, or about some of its actions and successes is impossible. One needs to speak [about Russia] in negative terms, the more the better, and when there's nothing to say, you need to make things up. This is obvious to us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

WikiLeaks was founded by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange in 2006 and has since been releasing thousands of secret documents, including reports about the US military.

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