The whistleblower behind the “Panama Papers”, which has unveiled about the major tax evasion and fraud worldwide said he feared Russian retribution. He revealed the following during an interview.
The magazine quoted him under his pseudonym John Doe as saying he had proof of financing wrongdoing by top Russian officials and their allies which helped in funding the war in Ukraine.
During an interview, he said, “It is a risk that I live with, given that the government of Russia has expressed the fact that it wanted me dead.”
While being asked about tax havens used by “strongmen in autocratic regimes”, he mentioned of the alleged role they play in Russia, whose leaders deny breaking the law.
The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is more of a threat to the United States than Hitler ever was, and shell companies are his best friend,” he said.
“Shell companies funding the Russian army are what kill innocent civilians in Ukraine as Putin’s missiles target shopping centres.”
He said anonymous firms “make these horrors and more possible by removing accountability from society. But without accountability, society cannot function.”
He said Russian state-funded channel RT had aired a two-part Panama Papers docudrama featuring a “John Doe” character “who suffered a torture-induced head injury during the opening credits”.
“However bizarre and tacky, it was not subtle,” he said.
“We have seen others with connections to offshore accounts and tax justice resort to murder, as with the tragedies involving Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak,” referring to investigative reporters killed in Malta and Slovakia.
In what was billed as his first interview since the release of the Panama Papers in 2016, John Doe said he had no plans to come out from the cover of anonymity.
“The Panama Papers involve so many different transnational criminal organizations, some of them with links to governments, that it’s difficult to imagine how it could ever be safe to identify myself,” he said.