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Kremlin dismisses ‘unsubstantiated claims’ in Pandora Papers

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia, September 29, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has rejected as “unfounded” leaked info in the Pandora Papers accusing President Vladimir Putin’s associates of amassing secret wealth, saying Moscow has no plans to conduct an investigation into the publication.  

"This is just a set of largely unsubstantiated claims," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, adding that it is not clear "how this information can be trusted."

Peskov went on to say that Russia has seen no evidence in the massive data leak of hidden wealth among Putin's entourage despite allegations to the contrary from news organizations.

"We didn't see anything on hidden wealth within Putin's inner circle," Peskov said, stressing that Moscow sees no reason to make checks on the data because it sees the leaked files as "unfounded statements" unless something it considers reliable is revealed.  

“For now it is just not clear what this information is and what it is about,” Peskov said. “If there are serious publications that are based on something concrete and refer to something specific then we will read them with interest,” he added.

The remarks came after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a new leak on Sunday on the alleged financial secrets of more than 336 high-level politicians and public officials across the globe, including more than a dozen world leaders.

The investigation involved more than 600 journalists from 117 countries as well as over 11.9 million leaked files from 14 financial services companies around the world and was revealed by a number of news organizations, including The Washington Post and The Guardian.

Peskov further noted that the leaks were evidence of illicit action in the United States, adding that they have shown that the US is the largest tax haven, despite Washington's vows to fight against money laundering

"The only thing that actually catches the eye is the demonstration of which state is the world's biggest offshore and tax lacuna. And, this is, naturally, the United States," Peskov said.

The Pandora Papers earlier revealed that some American states, namely South Dakota and Nevada, have become perfect places to hide billions of dollars in wealth linked to people previously accused of financial crimes.

The publication suggests that the US has emerged as "a leading tax haven" thanks to local legislation allegedly drafted by the trust industry, which protects trust customers in the US and abroad.

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