Panama Papers first strike against Putin’s corruption - expert

21:10, 01 August 2017
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The Panama Papers probe was in fact a retaliatory move against Vladimir Putin’s Russia, a U.S.-based strategic analyst Eric Garland claims, confirming his suggestion with an already deleted tweet by Wikileaks arguing that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists wasn’t being ethical about their leaks, which made Vladimir Putin look corrupt.

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Somewhere between Rossiya Bank, Cyprus, and Panama, Vladimir Putin had around $2 billion dollars stashed away, the author says.

“Based on hacking that exfiltrated 2.6 terabytes of financial data, the Panama Papers was the largest leak in a string of such “journalistic” endeavors kicked off by the Russian military intelligence front Wikileaks,” Eric Garland writes.

However, when the Panama Papers hit the news in April 2016, it was not clear that Vladimir Putin may have been the main target.

Read alsoPanama Papers: Putin says info on offshore companies authenticThe New York Times made clear who was conspicuously absent from the Panama Papers: “So far, the documents cited in news reports have not connected any prominent American politicians or other influential Americans to Mossack Fonseca.”

“It’s not that Americans do not avail themselves of offshore banking regimes,” the author wrote. “But this round of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism focused on a favorite of Russia’s.”

While one thing remains opaque about the investigative work journalists have begun in early 2015 – who obtained the hacked data in the first place?

Taking an educated guess about who would have the motivation, Eric Garland notes the two major issues: the relationship between Russia and West, and cyberwarfare that dramatically intensified after Edward Snowden’s leaks.

Read alsoScheme revealed of stolen millions flowing to Putin's confidantAmerica is now in a long state of emergency as it deals with a “political Pearl Harbor” assault on the 2016 elections, attacks aimed at every possible aspect of its political system. The public may now better understand why, in the middle of 2016, stories begin emerging from 2015 hacks that exposed, among other things, how Putin used Cyprus and Panama to traffic billions of ill-gotten gains. It also showed how Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort used Panamanian offshore banking to funnel payments from Ukraine back to the United States.

“Conspiratorial minds might notice that the Panama Papers were published less than one week after Paul Manafort was named chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign,” the analyst wrote.

Current reports tell us that the United States and its allies became aware of Putin’s plans to hack America’s elections as early as 2015. The story may seem disconnected, but the Panama Papers perhaps show that the U.S. Government planned to expose these covert attacks, and the root of all this evil: Russian money and its flow around the world.

Read alsoPanama Papers: Mossack Fonseca founders arrested over bribery – BBC Russian ServiceThe expert believes that more surprises will come the deeper the story develops: “Russia will surely not be the only country implicated. This will probably result in a mix of reform and crisis. Then again, it is usually crisis that produces the opportunity for reform.”

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