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Kremlin Downplays 'Stolen' Panama Papers, Defends Offshore Firms

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (file photo)
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (file photo)

The Kremlin says the leaked financial and legal documents known as the Panama Papers were "stolen," and defended the use of the kind of offshore firms detailed in the trove of materials.

"The Panama Papers are stolen documents. We should call a spade a spade," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi on May 10.

News organizations worldwide last month began publishing articles based on the leak of some 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Sergei Roldugin, a cellist friend of Putin's, is named in the documents as owning a network of offshore firms that have handled billions of dollars and have had business ties to wealthy tycoons seen as close to the Russian president. Roldugin has denied any wrongdoing.

Putin previously called the Panama Papers leak "a provocation" aimed at undermining the Russian government.

Peskov added on May 10 that the kinds of offshore entities detailed in the leaked documents "do not belong to the category of something illegitimate."

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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