The White House dismissed comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin that the massive legal documents leak known as the Panama Papers is an American plot to tarnish his reputation and create divisions in Russia.

Asked about Putin's charges Thursday, presidential deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said he had no idea how the Russian leader could make that claim.

"I can only speak for my president," he said. "When the president speaks on highly charged topics, it's always grounded in facts."

As part of a the leak of thousands of legal document from Panama law firm, several media outlets reported that some of Putin's close associates had hidden an estimated $2 billion through offshore accounts in the Caribbean.

The Russian president said Thursday that the stories and the leak itself are a U.S. government attempt to undermine Russian unity. He defended Sergei Roldugin, a longtime friend who was named in the documents. A cellist, Roldugin was implicated in a scheme to hide money from Russian banks offshore, according to a report in the New York Times.

Putin defended his friend, arguing that he had tried his hand at business in order to support his love of music by buying instruments abroad. Roldugin, then, donated the instruments to government institutions.

"I am proud to have friends like him," Putin said of Roldugin, who he called a "brilliant musician."

Putin said that because Russia deprives the West of being the world's only super power, the United States comes up with plots to undermine the "unity and cohesion" of Russia, which he said is an "exercise in futility."

The comments sparked broad skepticism on social media. One prominent Russian journalist wrote on Facebook that at $6 million apiece, the $2 billion Roldugin had hidden from the government was enough to buy more than 300 rare violins made in the 17th and 18th century by Antonio Stradivari.