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4 Oct, 2021 14:51

Absolutely no evidence in Pandora papers leak to back up assertions about ‘hidden riches of Putin’s inner circle,’ Kremlin claims

Absolutely no evidence in Pandora papers leak to back up assertions about ‘hidden riches of Putin’s inner circle,’ Kremlin claims

Assertions by the publishers of the Pandora papers that the entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin has secretly enriched itself have no substance and aren’t backed up by proof, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed.

The Pandora papers are 11.9 million leaked documents published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which worked with journalists from over 117 countries, including outlets like The Washington Post and the BBC. It is said to be the biggest ever leak exposing tax evasion.

In the papers, several Russians are named, and according to the ICIJ, the country is “disproportionately represented” in the leaked documents. Two of the people named include Konstantin Ernst, the head of Russia’s most-watched broadcaster Channel One; and German Gref, the CEO of Sberbank, the country’s biggest financial institution.

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However, despite his name not appearing in the documents, some of the journalists investigating the papers say that they show the great wealth of the president’s entourage, with London-based newspaper the Guardian claiming that it reveals the “hidden riches of Putin’s inner circle.”

However, according to the Kremlin, there is absolutely no evidence for this assertion.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Peskov said that Moscow has not seen any “hidden wealth.”

“We haven’t seen anything in particular so far,” he explained. “So far, it’s just about some assertions, and it’s not clear what they are based on. This is certainly not a reason for an investigation.”

In fact, according to Peskov, the investigation simply proves that the US is the world’s most prominent location for tax evasion.

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The Pandora paper authors also name Svetlana Krivonogikh, the woman claimed by investigative website Proekt to be the mother of one of Putin’s children. The Kremlin has never responded to the allegations. In 2021, Proekt was labeled as a foreign agent.

Outside of Russia, the paper also names Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Czech President Andrej Babiš, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as those storing money offshore.

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