The United States government is behind the recent tax avoidance-related leak known as the Panama Papers, in order to target Russia and President Vladimir Putin, renowned whistleblower group WikiLeaks claimed early Wednesday.
WikiLeaks say the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project or OCCRP, "which targets Russia and (the) former USSR," receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID and that U.S. hedge fund billionaire George Soros was behind the leak.
“#PanamaPapers Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter. “US govt funded #PanamaPapers attack story on Putin via USAID. Some good journalists but no model for integrity.”
Immediately after the leak went live, many news outlets were focused on how a friend of President Putin was directly involved in hiding billions of dollars in offshore tax havens using the services of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
However, Putin himself is not directly linked to the leaks and his name did not appear in the leaked documents.
Some have questioned the focus on the Russian leaders while ignoring other world leaders who were directly linked to the offshore tax avoidance scheme such as the Saudi king and the United Arab Emirates president, who also happen to be major U.S. allies.
RT reported that organizations belonging to Soros have been proclaimed to be "undesirable" in Russia.
“Last year, the Russian prosecutor general’s office recognized Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects,” the Russian news outlet said Wednesday.
The leak has been described as the biggest of its kind in the history of journalism as it included more than 11.5 million documents belonging to the Panamanian law firm. It exposed many politicians, government officials and celebrities across the globe.