Special to WorldTribune.com
A new twist on the Panama Papers bombshell posits that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the mastermind behind the leaked documents.
Clifford Gaddy, an adviser to the Russian finance ministry in the 1990s, contends that Putin will ultimately emerge unscathed from the revelations in the documents and that major American names contained in the papers were held back, possibly for future blackmailing purposes.
Related: Panama ‘papers’: What did the U.S. Treasury Dept. know and when did it know it?, April 8, 2016
Gaddy, who now works with the Brookings Institution, made the suggestion in a Brookings blog post on April 7.
Gaddy pointed out that the hacker who contacted the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung to provide the leaks in early 2015 was supported by the Russian government.
He also noted that any ties to Putin in the documents are obscure and that the Russian president has weathered much more serious charges of corruption during his tenure.
Gaddy also added that American names may have been deliberately removed from the papers before being handed over to the German newspaper.
Gaddy wrote that his suggestion is “certainly not a theory, hardly even a ‘hypothesis,’ ” but that it needs to be investigated.
Putin had earlier accused the United States of being behind the Panama Papers: “WikiLeaks has showed us that official people and official organs of the U.S. are behind this.”