MOSCOW/MADRID: The Kremlin on Friday apologised to United States investment bank Goldman Sachs and German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, saying aides had mistakenly informed President Vladimir Putin that the American bank owned the newspaper.
Putin, in a televised phone-in on Thursday, had repeated the erroneous information in comments he made about who he thought stood behind the leak of the Panama Papers which were handed to the German newspaper.
“It is more the error of those who prepared the briefing documents, my error,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters.
“There was information there that had not been checked and rechecked again and we gave it to the president. We have apologised (to the bank) and we will also apologise to the publication.”
Spanish industry minister resigns
Spain’s industry minister Jose Manuel Soria resigned on Friday after he was named in the Panama Papers leak and other media revelations that claimed he had links to offshore companies.
In a statement, he said he had tendered his resignation “in light of the succession of mistakes committed along the past few days, relating to my explanations over my business activities… and considering the obvious harm that this situation is doing to the Spanish government.”
Soria’s troubles began on Monday when Spanish online daily El Confidencial, which has had access to the Panama Papers — millions of files leaked from law firm Mossack Fonseca — said he was an administrator of an offshore firm in 1992.
Soria called a news conference to deny any link to the company, but as the week went by, more allegations emerged from other media outlets, revealing further alleged connections to offshore havens. It is unclear as yet whether any of his alleged actions were illegal.
Soria is the latest political victim of the Panama Papers leak, which revealed how the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies and which the law firm blamed on a computer hack.
Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was also forced to resign over the leaks.
In his statement, Soria said politics “is an activity that must always be exemplary, also where… explanations are concerned”.
“When that doesn’t happen, one must assume one’s responsibilities,” he added, in an indication that he was resigning due to how he had handled the revelations, rather than over any irregularities.