Italy’s League party faces investigation over claims of Russian oil deal

Italy’s League party faces investigation over claims of Russian oil deal

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Italy’s ruling party is facing an investigation into claims it tried to funnel money into its coffers from Moscow via a secret oil deal. Public prosecutors in Milan launched the probe after a leaked recording emerged of a meeting between a close aide to the deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, and Russian businessmen.

According to BuzzFeed, they discussed a Russian energy giant selling $1.5bn (£1.2bn) of oil to an Italian oil firm, buying and selling through intermediaries, to divert a sum worth $65m to Mr Salvini’s far-right League party. Mr Salvini, who is the interior minister in a coalition-government with the populist 5-Star Movement, has denied his party received any money from Moscow.

His former spokesman, Gianluca Savoini, admitted to meeting a group of unnamed businessmen in Moscow last October but denied the League had received any funds. Two sources with knowledge of the case told Reuters that magistrates have now opened a probe into the allegation of international corruption. Italian law forbids political parties from accepting donations from foreign entities. Source Sky News

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