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Putin May Have Offered Berlusconi Share on Deals, WikiLeaks Says

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may have promised his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi a percentage of profits on projects developed by OAO Gazprom with Eni SpA, a U.S. diplomatic cable posted on WikiLeaks.org shows.

“The Georgian ambassador in Rome has told us” that his government “believes Putin has promised Berlusconi a percentage of profits from any pipelines developed by Gazprom in coordination with Eni,” U.S. Ambassador Ronald P. Spogli said in a cable sent on Jan. 26, 2009, according to the leaked document.

Spogli also said “contacts” in both Italy’s opposition Democratic Party and the prime minister’s own People of Freedom Party “believe that Berlusconi and his cronies are profiting personally and handsomely from many of the energy deals between Italy and Russia,” according to the document posted late last night on WikiLeaks website.

Berlusconi said on the sidelines of a meeting in the Kazakh capital Astana today that “the U.S. knows I have absolutely no interest in any other country, that there aren’t personal interests, but that I only care about the interests of Italians and of my country," Italian news agency Ansa reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Fraher at jfraher@bloomberg.net.

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