"Is Putin financing leader of Italy's new ruling coalition?"

The US billionaire of Hungarian origin George Soros has asked whether the Italian (ruling) coalition leader is financed by (Russian President) Putin.

Soros spoke at the Festival of Economics in Trento, Italy, and publicly explained that he had Matteo Salvini in mind.

Salvini is the leader of Lega Nord, an anti-immigrant party, that, together with the populist Five Star Movement, makes up the newly formed ruling coalition in Italy.

"The Italian public has the right to know whether Salvini is on Putin's payroll," Soros said, according to Corriere della Sera.

The newspaper writes that the response of Italy's vice-premier and interior minister was not awaited for long. "We have never received a lira, a euro, a ruble from Russia. I consider Putin to be one of the best statesmen and I am embarrassed by the fact an unscrupulous speculator like Mr. Soros gets invited to come to Italy and talk," said Salvini.

The newspaper added that during his address in Trento, Soros said he was "very concerned" about the closeness of the new Italian government with Russia. The article recalled that parties that support the new government asked for EU's sanctions against Russia to be lifted. Soros also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "striving to dominate over Europe."

"He doesn't want to destroy it, but to use it because it has a production capacity, while the Russian economy under Putin can only make use of primary raw materials and people," Soros said.

He again described US President Donald Trump as "a threat to the world, including America," with the assertion that Trump "does not understand the basic elements of the economy". According to Soros, it would be good if the Trump "didn't last long."

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