Italy’s Salvini bows to pressure to respond on Russia report

ROME (AP) – Italy’s Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini bowed yesterday to days of pressure and agreed to respond to questions in Parliament about allegations that an associate sought Russian money for Salvini’s pro-Moscow League party.

The associate, Gianluca Savoini, is under investigation by Milan prosecutors for alleged international corruption stemming from reports that he discussed the financing plan during a meeting with Russian officials in Moscow last year, months after the right-wing League came to power in a coalition government with the 5-Star Movement.

Salvini had initially distanced himself from Savoini, denied taking any money from Russia and brushed off opposition demands to respond in Parliament, calling the whole case a “fantasy” as recently as Monday. But as calls increased for him to refer to Parliament and extended to his populist 5-Star coalition partner, he agreed yesterday.

Salvini said he would respond to lawmakers “about everything humanly knowable” during a regular question-and-answer appearance in Parliament, the ANSA news agency reported.