Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini said that Vladimir Putin is “a great President”, reports ANSA news agency.
According to him, he intends to work on improving relations between Rome and Moscow. "Putin is a great President. I say this because I think so, and not because I was paid, as some journalists think," he said.
Salvini also praised the American President Donald Trump, the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Earlier, it was reported that the Milan Prosecutor's office started an investigation into the financing of the Italian party Lega Nord by Russia. The investigation began after the BuzzFeed publication about negotiations between representatives of the Lega Nord and some Russian entrepreneurs in October 2018.
BuzzFeed wrote that an unnamed Russian oil company could sell Italian company (presumably Eni energy company) at least 3 million tons of fuel in one year in the amount of $1.5 billion. Lega Nord political party allegedly could get profit from the transaction in the amount of €65 million.
Also, according to the American publication, at this meeting , under the guise of discussing the oil deal, the representatives of both countries talked about Moscow's financing of the Lega Nord's election campaign to the European Parliament.
In mid-July, Salvini denied information on the financing of the Lega Nord party from Moscow. "I did not take a penny, or a Euro or a dollar, or a gallon of vodka from Russia," he said.
The Kremlin also denied information on negotiations between Russian representatives and members of the Lega Nord party on the financing of the party. "No Italian politician has ever received money from Russia either directly or through any deals," said the Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov.