The Latest: Russia distances itself from Panama Papers

LONDON – The Latest on the release of a database listing offshore companies named in the so-called Panama Papers (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says the release of financial information in the “Panama Papers” should not be seen as linked to the Russian government’s years-long efforts to persuade Russian businessmen to bring money back to the country from offshore accounts.

Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday that despite Russia’s efforts to “de-offshore the economy,” the use of offshore accounts was not illegal in Russia. The only issue is tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Peskov said: “The Panama papers are stolen documents. We need to call things by their real names.”

The latest release of financial documents includes a list of more than 6,000 Russians and more than 11,000 corporate entities.

Putin in 2014 proposed a capital amnesty, under which funds brought back to the country would not face questions on tax and other issues. He later said the amnesty would have to comply with international money-laundering rules to prevent “capital earned in an illegal manner” from being amnestied.


10:45 a.m.

Relatively few Japanese businesses and individuals are featured in the database of offshore companies released by the ICIJ.

One prominent businessman, Japanese Internet company SoftBank Group Corp.’s Masayoshi Son says two companies that his group company had invested in were among the companies it named.

Son didn’t say which companies they were, but he told reporters during a news conference on the company’s earnings that: “I was surprised to see it on the news.”

Softbank has invested in about 2,000 companies over the years.

“There just happened to be two companies out of 2,000,” he said.


10:20 a.m.

The latest release of the names of thousands of offshore companies and other financial data of the rich and powerful is spurring renewed calls to counter corruption and tax evasion.

Japan’s government spokesman said Tuesday that Tokyo plans to propose an action plan for combating graft at the summit of the Group of Seven rich industrial economies that will be held later this month in Ise, Japan.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary, said Tuesday that as host of the May 26-27 G7 summit, Japan hopes to include proposals for combating tax evasion, such as increasing disclosure requirements, along with to the leaders’ joint declaration at the event’s close.

That follows various moves by other countries to investigate or tighten oversight of such financial dealings following the first release last month of information from what has been dubbed the “Panama Papers.”

D.S. Malik, a spokesman for India’s finance ministry, said Tuesday that India’s income tax authorities have sent notices to all the Indians listed in the database and would investigate each case based on their replies.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists made the fresh data on 200,000 entities available on its website at 1800 GMT (2 p.m. EDT) Monday.