London CNN Prosecutors in Milan have opened an investigation into possible charges of international corruption, amid fresh claims that representatives from Matteo Salvini's League party discussed a funding scheme with Russia to plug a black hole in the League's finances, according to a person briefed on the investigation. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. The prosecutors' inquiries date back to February of this year, when two Italian reporters claimed that an associate of Salvini's met with unidentified Russians in Moscow's Metropol hotel and discussed a deal in which Russia would sell 3 million tonnes of diesel to an Italian oil company, from which money could be diverted to replenish the League party's coffers. Salvini says he wants pre-Maastricht EU rules, ahead of far-right rally. The claims were published in a book entitled " The Black Book of the League.
US attorney general 'met Italian officials to discuss Russiagate'
Italian PM to address claims League sought money from Russia | World news | The Guardian
Giuseppe Conte, a technocrat whose appointment was key to the brokering of a coalition between the League and the populist Five Star Movement M5S , said he would speak to parliament after Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister and leader of the League, refused to bow to pressure from M5S to give a detailed response to the claims. Salvini said he would be willing to discuss the issue during the regular question time session. But early on Wednesday morning, it was unclear if Salvini would even be present, with reports suggesting he would not appear and his spokesperson unable to confirm either way. He has repeatedly denied his party has taken money from Russia, following reports earlier this month that one of his aides had allegedly endeavoured to strike an oil deal in a Moscow hotel that would have diverted Russian funds to the League to bolster its campaigning before the European elections in May. There is no evidence that a deal was finalised, but the allegations, which initially emerged in February , led Italian prosecutors to open an investigation and raised questions about the relationship between the League and the Kremlin. He also knows if he answers to parliament, it would be negative for him.
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Papadopoulos later served a jail sentence for lying to the FBI about the claims that Mifsud, who has been missing since October , was the source of his information on Russia. Papadopoulos also said, without evidence, that Mifsud was an agent of the Italian secret service who had sought to entrap him. Barr was reportedly also trying to find out whether Italian secret service agents had helped Mifsud to find a safe hiding place. Mifsud flew to Moscow in April and held talks with senior Russian politicians and officials. At the time, the Democrats were unaware their servers had been breached.