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An aide of Matteo Salvini plotted to funnel Russian oil money to the far-right minister's party in Italy, it has been claimed.
Declaring that 'a new Europe has to be close to Russia', Salvini's aide Gianluca Savoini allegedly discussed a covert deal with three Russians at a hotel in Moscow.
Meeting - Salvini - Trump - Negotiators - Plans
During the meeting, in which the far-right Salvini was hailed as a 'European Trump', the negotiators apparently discussed taking their plans to Russia's deputy PM - suggesting the deal had backing from Moscow.
According to Buzzfeed, which has published recordings of the meeting, Salvini himself was in Russia at the time but did not take part in the conversation.
Salvini - Claims - 'a - Euro - Dollar
Salvini has denied the claims, saying he had never taken 'a rouble, a euro, a dollar or a litre of vodka in financing from Russia'.
Three Italians and three Russians are reported to have thrashed out the deal at Moscow's Metropol hotel last October.
Plans - Oil - Firm - Fuel - Counterpart
Under the alleged plans, a Russian oil firm would sell its fuel to an Italian counterpart in order to generate $65million (£52million) in funds which could be funnelled to the League party.
'We count on sustaining a political campaign which is of benefit, I would say of mutual benefit, for the two countries,' one of the Italians allegedly said.
'Salvini - Man - Europe - Aide - Savoini
'Salvini is the first man that wants to change all Europe,' his aide Savoini said, citing France's Marine Le Pen and Germany's AfD party as allies.
Hungary's authoritarian leader Viktor Orban and Austria's far-right FPÖ were also listed as friends of the League.
'We - Alliance - Parties - Russia - Interlocutors
'We really want to begin to have a great alliance with these parties that are pro Russia,' he allegedly told his interlocutors.
The unidentified Russians are also claimed to have sought a 'commission' for...
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