04/06/2016, 17.09
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China and Russia slam Panama Papers as Western propaganda out to discredit them

Chinese and Russian authorities censor information linking their leaders to the scandal. For the Global Times, a state-controlled paper, “Information that is negative to the U.S. can always be minimized, while exposure of non-Western leaders, such as Putin, can get extra spin”. In China, search engines have blocked access to sites with information. The Papers mention 600 Israeli companies.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China and Russia have dismissed the Panama Papers as Western propaganda designed to undermine the credibility of the two Asian powers. This follows Sunday’s leak of millions of documents on the offshore accounts of close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an editorial published yesterday, China’s Global Times newspaper, which is owned by the People’s Daily, said, "The Western media has taken control of the interpretation each time there has been such a document dump, and Washington has demonstrated particular influence in it”.

Without mentioning the Chinese officials named in reports, it also noted that "Information that is negative to the U.S. can always be minimized, while exposure of non-Western leaders, such as Putin, can get extra spin."

Some 11.5 million records from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm were anonymously leaked to German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. About 370 journalists from 70 countries and more than 100 news organisations in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) got involved to process the information.

The documents, which span from 1977 to 2015, describe offshore accounts of 140 world figures, many of them Asian, like the children of Li Peng, the ‘butcher of Tiananmen Square’, and the emir of Qatar.

Whilst the Panama Papers do not mention Putin directly, they show that at least US$ 2 billion in transactions involved people and companies with close ties to the Russian leader.

According to Moscow, this is an attempt to undermine the president’s election prospect in upcoming parliamentary elections in September.

Russian state media largely ignored the reports on Putin.

The case has also touched Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is leading an anti-corruption campaign within the Party, because his brother-in-law Deng Jiagui was a shareholder in two British Virgin Islands companies, and reportedly owns hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate.

According to the BBC, the Panama Papers also mention the family members of two members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo.

Attempts to search "Panama Papers" on Baidu Inc.’s Google-like search engine returned only a one-line warning that "search results may not comply with relevant laws or regulations."

Tax authorities in Israel said Tuesday they were searching the mass of leaked documents after media reports suggested that 600 Israeli companies and two major banks (Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim) were listed in the Papers.

A spokeswoman for the tax authorities said the information from the leak "strengthens our campaign, launched last year, aimed at convincing Israelis who have not declared their fortune abroad to do so without facing penalties."

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