Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ukraine Leader Defends Himself in Offshore Account Leaks

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, April 6, 2016.

One day after the prime minister of Iceland resigned, the president of Ukraine defended himself Wednesday in the massive leak of records on offshore accounts that has named political officials, business and celebrities from around the world.

President Petro Poroshenko said at a news conference in Tokyo that his case is significantly different than others in the so-called Panama Papers, including those in Iceland and Russia, where friends of President Vladimir Putin have been named.

An offshore holding company set up for his candy business was necessary to put his assets into a blind trust when he became president in 2014, Porshenko said.

He was in Japan to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and business leaders.

The leaks have raised suspicion that such offshore entities were set up to avoid taxes, but Porshenko denied that was the purpose in his case. Rather, he said, it was the only way to put his assets into a blind trust through Rothschild investment bank.

"This is absolutely normal procedure, and I think this is the main difference from the naming of all the political figures in this Panama list,'' he said.

Asked why he had failed to fulfill a campaign promise to sell his business if elected, Porshenko said there are no buyers for assets in a country ``in a state of war.''

He said he was open to an investigation.

"If we have anything to be investigated, I am happy to do that,'' he said. "But, this is absolutely transparent from the very beginning. No hidden account, no associated management, no nothing.''