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An Italian Expose Documents Moscow Money Allegedly Funding Italy’s Far-Right Salvini

An exposé claims that Vladimir Putin is funneling $3 million to Matteo Salvini through dirty diesel to help swing European elections towards Russia-friendly candidates.

ROME — Italy’s interior minister and vice premier, Matteo Salvini, went off the grid for 12 hours during an official state visit to Moscow last October. Tales of Russian prostitutes seemed to explain the time lapse for the single statesman. But a new exposé by the Italian newsmagazine L’Espresso suggests that his time may have been spent doing something far more sinister: he may have been making backroom deals with Russian operatives ahead of European Parliamentary elections.

The investigation, which the magazine says was conducted over several months, comes to the conclusion that Russian president Vladimir Putin is selling 3 million tons of diesel fuel via a Russian company to an Italian state company, Eni, that Salvini as interior minister can help manage.

L’Espresso names the first Russian company involved as Avangard Oil & Gas, which has a curiously opaque façade, and is housed on Novinsky Boulevard in Moscow next to major firms like ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, Glencore amd Samsung.