Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini's efforts to quell the fallout over reports his League Party was soliciting Russian financing suffered a setback when the country's prime minister contradicted his recollection of events.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a statement that Salvini's office had invited Gianluca Savoini, a Salvini ally at the center of the flap, to a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Rome. Salvini had previously said that he hadn't invited him and didn't know why Savoini was at the July 4 dinner.

Savoini, who is president of the Lombardy Russia association, had previously met in Moscow with three unidentified Russians to discuss ways to finance the League, Buzzfeed News reported on July 10, citing a secret audio recording. Milan prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into possible Russian funds paid to the League, Ansa reported July 11.