Panama Papers: Kremlin apologizes for Putin's Goldman Sachs gaffe

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MOSCOW — The Kremlin has issued a rare apology after President Vladimir Putin alleged U.S. interests were behind reports that people close to him had stashed funds in offshore accounts.

During his annual call-in show on Thursday, Putin responded to a question about foreign "slander" by saying that "employees of American official bodies were involved" in a huge leak of records that shone light on a network of law firms and banks that offer financial secrecy and investments in low-tax regimes.

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Panama Papers: Kremlin apologizes for Putin's Goldman Sachs gaffe
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes a seat before a meeting to mark International Women's Day, in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, Tuesday, March 8, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a glass of champagne after a state awards ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, on March 10, 2016. AFP PHOTO / POOL / PAVEL GOLOVKIN / AFP / POOL / PAVEL GOLOVKIN (Photo credit should read PAVEL GOLOVKIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin waves as he leaves the Italian pavilion at the 2015 Expo, in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Pope Francis meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on the occasion of a private audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, flanked on his right by Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, waves as he leaves after visiting the Russian pavilion at the 2015 Expo in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Putin was meeting Wednesday with Italian officials and Pope Francis as the U.S. sought to encourage the Vatican to join the West in condemning Moscow's actions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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"Who was the first to report it? Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which is part of an American holding, Goldman Sachs," Putin said, referring to the Panama Papers, the cache of documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is at the center of the scandal.

In an article on Friday, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung denied it was owned by Goldman Sachs.

On Friday, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov took responsibility for the erroneous comment.

"'This is rather our mistake, a mistake of mine, of those who were preparing the reference papers on the issue," he told Russia's Interfax news agency. "There really was unverified information concerning the owners of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, we didn't double-check and gave it to the president."

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Panama Papers: Kremlin apologizes for Putin's Goldman Sachs gaffe
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the presidential residence of Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday May 12, 2015. (Joshua Roberts/Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the presidential residence of Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday May 12, 2015. (Joshua Roberts/Pool Photo via AP)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MAY 12: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) stands with with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) during talks as U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft looks on May 12, 2015 in Sochi, Russia. Kerry is in Russia to discuss the crisis in Ukraine the Russian President. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) at the presidential residence Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi on May 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOSHUA ROBERTS (Photo credit should read JOSHUA ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)
US.Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) watch as members of the US and Russian delegations place red flowers at the Zakovkzalny War Memorial in Sochi on May 12, 2015. Kerry began high stakes talks in the Russian resort of Sochi Tuesday aimed at pushing President Vladimir Putin to fully implement a shaky Ukraine ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOSHUA ROBERTS (Photo credit should read JOSHUA ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)
US.Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) watch as members of the US and Russian delegations place red flowers at the Zakovkzalny War Memorial in Sochi on May 12, 2015. Kerry began high stakes talks in the Russian resort of Sochi Tuesday aimed at pushing President Vladimir Putin to fully implement a shaky Ukraine ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOSHUA ROBERTS (Photo credit should read JOSHUA ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)
US.Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) lay a wreath at the Zakovkzalny War Memorial in Sochi on May 12, 2015. Kerry began high stakes talks in the Russian resort of Sochi Tuesday aimed at pushing President Vladimir Putin to fully implement a shaky Ukraine ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOSHUA ROBERTS (Photo credit should read JOSHUA ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Our apologies to the publication," he added.

A key figure mentioned in the papers is Sergei Roldugin, a wealthy cellist who is godfather to Putin's eldest daughter, according to the Financial Times.

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See Some of Putin's Stranger Moments in the Spotlight

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