Wednesday, 6 April 2016

China's reaction

Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday, becoming the first casualty of leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm which have shone a spotlight on the offshore wealth of politicians and public figures worldwide.

Among those named in the documents are friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the leaders of China, Britain and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

In China, the Beijing government dismissed as "groundless" reports that the families of President Xi Jinping and other current and former Chinese leaders were linked to offshore accounts. In the last 48 hours some extraordinary steps have been taken in the East to protect those that might have been affected by the Panama Papers leak from Mossack Fonseca. It will probably be very difficult to get news out of China in the coming days as the doors close.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, when asked if the government would investigate tax affairs of those mentioned in the documents, told reporters the ministry would not comment on "these groundless accusations". Beijing also moved to limit local access to coverage of the matter. State media denounced Western reporting on it as biased against non-Western leaders.

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