Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has never met Italy’s Matteo Salvini in person, his spokesman said, denying a report on an alleged shady deal the two struck to fund Salvini’s Lega Party with Russian money. Kozak has never held any talks with Salvini, a spokesman of the Russian deputy government head, Ilya Dzhus, told journalists on Sunday. He referred to an “investigative piece” published by Italy’s L’Espresso weekly earlier this week, in which it claimed the Italian deputy prime minister secretly met his Russian colleague in Moscow to discuss the terms of a deal that would supposedly allow his right-wing Lega Party get a hefty sum of money from Russia ahead of the European elections. “The so-called ‘investigation’ by the Italian L’Espresso is based on some flimsy fantasies that do no credit to the media outlet,” Dzhus told journalists. “Kozak never had any personal contacts to Salvini, never held any official or ‘secret’ meetings with him,” he said.
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