ROME, September 7. /TASS/. Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper mistakenly identified a Russian diplomat among persons reportedly involved in the case of alleged Russian financing of the Lega party, the Russian embassy in Rome said.
"The embassy [in Rome] indeed employs first secretary Andrei Nikolayevich Kharchenko (born in 1987), who has no relation whatsoever to the individual with whom your journalists are trying to relate him," the embassy said. "We would like to request an official refutation of information in the above-mentioned article (which is slanderous in essence) and to apologize to the Russian diplomat, who, just like all of us here at the embassy, is working for the benefit of Russian-Italian relations."
In July, US portal BuzzFeed published a readout of a conversation between the head of the Lombardy-Russia Association and a senior member of the Lega party, Gianluca Savoini, and purported Russian businessmen about the party’s financing. On Tuesday, the portal identified Russian participants in the talks as Andrei Kharchenko and Ilya Yakunin.
According to the embassy, its first secretary Anrei Kharchenko has a different patronymic and is younger than the person identified by BuzzFeed.
Based on the publication and the audio record released by BuzzFeed, Milan’s prosecution have launched a case against Savoini on international corruption charges. Other suspects in the case are lawyer Gianluca Meranda and financial consultant Francesco Vannucci. All suspects denied any wrongdoing.