Russian President Vladimir Putin calls media reports about offshore accounts, a ''provocation''.
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STUDIO: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (April 14) media reports about offshore accounts in Panama were a "provocation." Putin came to defense of his long-term friend cellist Sergei Roldugin named in the "Panama Papers" leaks and said he had done nothing wrong and spent the money he earned from business on buying expensive musical instruments which he was donating to public institutions. "What Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin bought - I think he bought two violins and two cellos - these are unique instruments. The last one he bought - I will mention it because it has already been mentioned on internet - (its value) is about $12 million," Putin said. "I can suggest to thieves and the like to calm down, because Sergei Pavlovich has nothing left. To buy these instruments he spent more than he had, he owes (money) to institutions, foundations through which he bought them. Who is behind these provocations? We know that among them there are staff of official US institutions," he added. Putin, speaking at his annual televised phone-in, said United State officials were behind the leaks and media reports were designed to sow doubts about individuals. "What matters - is that the country cannot be manipulated, cannot be forced to do what someone else wants, to dance to someone else's tune. If we are talked to in a respectable way, if they try to look for compromises, the same way we always do, then we will always find a solution which will satisfy both us and our partners," Russian president added. Media reports based on the leaked documents from a Panama-based law firm alleged that Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and friend of Putin, had quietly built up a sprawling business empire involved in offshore transactions that might be linked to the Russian leader.