Russia's Putin denies Democrat e-mail hack but praises leak

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during an interview in Vladivostok, Russia on Sept 1, 2016.
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during an interview in Vladivostok, Russia on Sept 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA (AFP) - Russia's president on Friday (Sept 2) denied Moscow was behind an e-mail hack that embarrassed White House hopeful Hillary Clinton but said it was important the information got into the public domain.

"I don't know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this," Vladimir Putin told Bloomberg News in an interview aired Friday.

Hacked e-mails leaked by WikiLeaks in July revealed that party leaders had sought to undermine the primary campaign of Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders and US officials said Russia was behind the release.

Putin slammed the accusations as attempts to "distract the public's attention from the essence of the problem by raising some minor issues connected with the search for who did it."

"The important thing is the content that was given to the public," he said.

Clinton's rival Donald Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Putin, leading some to conjecture the Kremlin strongman was working to put the real estate billionaire in the White House.