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Russian embassy not satisfied with response by Italian daily regarding Russian diplomat

The newspaper explained its mistake by the Russian embassy’s failure to confirm the information in the run-up to the publication

ROME, September 13. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy in Italy is not satisfied with the statement published by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in response to the embassy’s demand that the daily issue a rebuttal of the publication claiming that a Russian diplomat is involved in the case on alleged financing of Italy’s Lega party by Russia.

"We have noted that a part of the embassy’s letter published on September 13, which demands that the editorial office publish a rebuttal of information of a libelous nature contained in the September 6 article and apologize to our diplomat, has been omitted," the letter stated.

The Russian embassy added that articles of this kind require more time for working out and clarification.

Earlier on Friday, Italian daily Corriere della Sera acknowledged its mistake regarding the misidentification of a Russian embassy worker. The newspaper explained the mistake by the Russian embassy’s failure to confirm the information in the run-up to the publication.

On September 6, Corriere della Sera named an employee of the Russian Embassy in Italy Andrei Kharchenko as a person involved in the high-profile case of Russia’s alleged financing of the Lega party. The article published on Friday was met with outrage in the Russian diplomatic mission, which demanded an official retraction. The embassy explained that its employee has a different patronymic name and is younger than the alleged suspect.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted this mistake during a briefing on Thursday, adding that the ministry would keep an eye on this case.

Alleged financing scandal

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. Later, the website identified Russian participants in the talks as Andrei Kharchenko and Ilya Yakunin.

Based on the publication and the audio record released by BuzzFeed, Milan’s prosecution 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.