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Italy's Salvini denies his far-right League party took funds from Russia

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday denied a media report that his far-right League party had sought millions of euros from Russian investors via a secret oil deal.

The U.S. website Buzzfeed said it had received an audio recording of talks in Moscow in October among three Italians including a close aide of Salvini, Gianluca Savoini, and three unidentified Russian men.

During their 75-minute meeting, the six men discussed a possible deal involving a Russian company selling oil worth some $1.5 billion at a discount to enable the League to pocket part of the difference, Buzzfeed said.

There was no evidence the transaction took place, the website reported.

Salvini had been in Moscow at the same time as the alleged meeting in a city hotel, but there was no suggestion he took part in the discussions. He denied on Wednesday that his party had received any illicit funding.

“Never taken a ruble, a euro, a dollar or a litre of vodka in financing from Russia,” Salvini said in a statement, adding that he would sue anyone who accused him of such crimes.

Italian law forbids parties from accepting donations from foreign entities, and the opposition centre-left Democratic Party (PD) demanded that Salvini appear in parliament to address the allegations.

“If this (deal) happened it would be of unprecedented seriousness,” PD lawmaker Emanuele Fiano said in the lower house. “We formally request that the minister answer in the chamber of the house.”

Read more at: Italy's Salvini denies his far-right League party took funds from Russia

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