President Putin has denied “any element of corruption” over the Panama Papers leaks, saying his opponents are trying to destabilise Russia.
Mr Putin was speaking for the first time since the leak of millions of confidential documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The papers revealed a number of offshore companies owned by close associates of Mr Putin.
They suggest the companies may have been used for money laundering.
Mr Putin said Russia’s opponents “are worried by the unity of the Russian nation… and that is why they are attempting to rock us from within, to make us more obedient”.
“There is a certain friend of the president, he did such and such a thing, and there is probably a corruption element there, but there isn’t any,” Mr Putin went on to say.
He praised his long-time friend, the cellist Sergei Roldugin, who is named in the papers as the owner of two offshore firms which made millions of dollars of profits.
Mr Putin said he was proud of people like Mr Roldugin who had spent nearly all the money he had earned on musical instruments and donating money to state institutions.
Mr Roldugin has known Mr Putin since they were teenagers and is godfather to the president’s daughter Maria.
Curled from bbc.com