"There is not a dollar, a lira, a florin, a ruble. I never saw or asked for anything and no one in the League [Lega] saw or asked for anything. They [La Repubblica and Il Fatto Quotidiano] can make up and publish all the pictures they want. We're expecting the probe to end, which has gone on for a year. Let's talk about serious things. This is not a serious thing," Salvini said as quoted by the ANSA news agency.
A copy of a document that was published by the Italian media earlier in the day provided alleged information regarding former Salvini spokesman Gianluca Savoini and two other Italians meeting with a group of Russians in Moscow in October 2018. The media claimed that the parties agreed to share the proceeds from diesel shipments, with 4 per cent going to Lega and 6 per cent to the Russian intermediaries.
The allegations of Lega's collusion with Russia first emerged in February when US-based website Buzzfeed claimed it had an audiotape of a secret meeting in Moscow between Salvini’s aide and Russian officials. In the recording, the men were allegedly heard discussing a plan that would allow Russia to covertly transfer tens of millions of dollars of oil money to Lega. Moscow, as well as Salvini, has repeatedly refuted such allegations.