The not-completely-crazy theory that Russia leaked the Panama Papers

1. It was a hacker backed by the Russian government who emailed the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung to offer the leak in early 2015, the initial contact that would eventually lead to the release of the Panama Papers.

2. There’s deliberately little information within the Panama Papers that harms Putin: While the $2 billion figure has been reported widely, the link to Putin is relatively obscure, and the Russian president has survived far worse accusations of corruption.

3. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of information in the Panama Papers that has already proven extremely embarrassing for other world leaders. At the least, Gaddy argues, this makes Putin and his reputation for corruption seem like less of an outlier and more of standard operating practice.

4. The fact that so few Americans have been linked to the Panama Papers could suggest that their details were deleted from the documents given to Süddeutsche Zeitung and passed on to other media outlets. If this is true, Gaddy suggests that the lack of this information in the release means that it could be being held back for blackmail purposes.