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Kremlin rejects media accusations of Putin's business ties with Timchenklo, Miller

May 22, 2015, 13:49 UTC+3
Putin's press secretary said no slander lawsuits will be filed against the media alleging Vladimir Putin has close economic ties with businessman Gennady Timchenko and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller
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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. Kremlin has rejected media accusations against the Russian head of state alleging that Vladimir Putin has close economic ties with businessman Gennady Timchenko and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller.

Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists that there is only one answer: "No" to the list of 21 questions. "All this information is not true," said the Kremlin spokesman, commenting on the US and UK media inquiries received by the Russian presidential administration.

Peskov said that a partly positive answer may be given only to one question. "Indeed, in 1996 [Governor of Saint Petersburg Anatoly] Sobchak was airlifted by a separate charter plane from St. Petersburg to Paris. But it was not Timchenko’s private jet. Timchenko then only helped to charter a special flying cardiac resuscitation unit. This is partially true," said the Russian presidential spokesman.

In particular, the Western media are interested in financial relations of Russian President Vladimir Putin with businessman Gennady Timchenko and current head of the Gazprom natural gas monopoly Gazprom AlexeyMiller.

"The United States has claimed that Mr Timchenko’s activity in the energy sphere is directly or indirectly linked to Mr Putin. Is this true? Has Mr Putin invested or is he investing money in Gunvor Group? Has Mr Putin directly or indirectly worked with Gunvor Group? Did [businessman Gennady] Timchenko help Mr Putin financially when Putin moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow in 1990? Did Timchenko provide his private jet to help Putin take [head of St. Petersburg Anatoly] Sobchak to France in 1996? Did Putin and Timchenko discuss business and private issues in the 1990s? If yes, then how often? Is it true that Putin, working in the St. Petersburg administration, approved a loan to the Twentieth Trust construction company in the amount of 23 billion roubles? "At that time it might be 23 million rubles, but it's hard to say," Peskov said, quoting the received media questions.

"Has Mr Putin received money from the Twentieth Trust owners or did they help him to build a cottage in the Ozero cooperative? Was Putin involved in the creation of the PETROMED company in the 1990s?" the Kremlin spokesman continue reading the questions. "Did Putin in the 1990s help to protect the business of Mr. Timchenko, the business of Twentieth Trust and PETROMED from St. Petersburg criminal groups? Was Alexey Miller’s participation in SOVEX intended to conceal the interests of Vladimir Putin in this business? It is emphasised that Putin during negotiations with a SOVEX founder Dmitry Skigin asked 15% of shares and futures in exchange for help with the registration of the company and the conclusion of a long-term lease agreement? It is confirmed that the parties agreed on 4%"

According to the press secretary, Putin was surprised to learn about the inquiries.

Kremlin not to file slander lawsuits

Peskov said Kremlin will not file lawsuits regarding the publications.

"The slander is so evident, I even cannot say how well it is seen, that it is impossible to take it seriously," he told TASS.

"They are most likely to affect prestige of the media, if they publish the articles," the press secretary said. "We appreciate the professional level and impartiality of leading Western media, and thus we are deeply disappointed if they come down to anything like this."

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