UPDATE 1-China limits coverage and denounces Panama Papers' tax haven revelations
(Recasts, adds Chinese government reaction)
BEIJING, April 5 (Reuters) - China on Tuesday denounced accusations arising from a massive leak from a Panamanian law firm as "groundless" and moved to limit coverage of documents that may have exposed financial wrongdoing by some of the world's rich and powerful.
The "Panama Papers" revealed financial arrangements of politicians and public figures including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has published some of the information from the documents, said the files also revealed offshore companies linked to the families of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other powerful current and former Chinese leaders.
While holding money in offshore companies is not illegal, journalists who received the leaked documents said they could provide evidence of wealth hidden for tax evasion, money laundering, sanctions busting, drug deals or other crimes.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked whether Beijing would investigate any of the offshore tax affairs of the relatives of top leaders mentioned in the papers, told a daily news briefing: "We won't comment on these groundless accusations."
State media have largely avoided any reporting of the "Panama Papers".
Searches for the word "Panama" on Chinese search engines bring up stories in Chinese media on the topic, but many of the links have been disabled or only open onto stories about allegations directed at sports stars.
Searches for "Panama Papers" in Chinese bring up a warning that the results "may not accord with relevant laws and rules so can't be shown". Continuación...