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Italy's Salvini To Address Parliament On 'Russiagate' Funding Allegations

Matteo Salvini takes a photo on Red Square durng his stay in Moscow in 2014.
Matteo Salvini takes a photo on Red Square durng his stay in Moscow in 2014.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini says he will address parliament on allegations that his far-right League party has sought illicit funding from Russia.

Salvini on July 16 said he would take questions when he speaks before parliament at an unspecified date in the so-called "Russiagate" controversy.

He called the matter "talk about nothing," adding that "there is nothing for which I can be implicated."

Italian prosecutors on July 11 said they were investigating allegation of illegal Russian funding against Salvini's League party.

The investigation came following media reports about a meeting that allegedly took place between Russian officials and one of Salvini's close aides, where they discussed a secret oil deal.

Italian weekly L'Espresso reported in February that former Salvini spokesman Gianluca Savoini had met Russian businessmen in October 2018 about a possible oil deal that would funnel money to the party.

The U.S. website Buzzfeed said on July 10 it had received an audio recording of the Moscow meeting and published a transcript where Savoini can be heard discussing a covert oil transaction.

The website said there was no evidence that such a transaction subsequently took place.

Savoini has declined to comment on the allegations,

Moscow has attempted to establish ties with far-right European populist movements in recent years.

Russian President Putin said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that his United Russia party was working closely with Salvini's antimigrant League party.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AP

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