The following is the transcript of the recording of the Russian-Italian oil deal held in the Moscow Metropol Hotel on October 18, 2018, that BuzzFeed News reported on last month. The meeting was attended by Gianluca Savoini, a close, longtime aide of Italy’s nationalist deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, and five other men — three Russians and two Italians. They discussed the terms of a possible deal to secretly funnel around $65 million of Russian oil money to Salvini’s Lega party and its European election campaign:
SAVOINI: It is very important that in this historical geopolitical period that Europe is changing. Next May will be the European election. We want to change Europe. A new Europe has to be close to Russia as before because we want to have our sovereignty. We want to really decide for our future, Italians, for our children, for our sons. Not depending on decision of illuminates [the enlightened] of Brussels, of USA. We want to decide. Salvini is the first man that want to change all Europe. Together our allies and colleagues and other parties in Europe. Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs in Austria, German Alternative für Deutschland, France Madame Le Pen, and other other countries the same, Hungaria with Orban, in Sweden Sverigedemokraterna. We have our allies. We really want to begin to have a great alliance with these parties that are pro Russia, but not pro Russia for Russia but for our countries. Because to stay well with Russia, good relations is for our countries. So this is my only beginning to the political situation. Now I want our technical partners who can continue this discussion. Thank you very much.
RUSSIAN INDIVIDUAL 1 [RU1]: Thank you. Now our technique papers are already made as they are ready to be given to Mister Deputy Prime Minister.
SAVOINI: Yes, yes.
RU1: But we have to discuss latest decisions maybe.
SAVOINI: Please, please.
RU1: To check our [INAUDIBLE] to prepare for deputy prime minister.
RU1: (in Russian) So, on our end everything is ready, but we need to discuss the final details.
RUSSIAN INDIVIDUAL 3 [RU3]: (in Russian) Then let’s talk about it.
RUSSIAN INDIVIDUAL 2 [RU2]: Just one question concerning the legal. Yesterday’s talks confront both types of fuel, aviation kerosene or diesel.
RU1: (in Russian) No, no, no! There were no specifics mentioned. We’ll manage it.
RU2: OK so in general, speaking.
RU1: Ya, in general…
RU2: So now we can go with the names about the particular maybe two companies who will be delivering, firstly delivering from Russia because will not be the final contractor, so after this we will understand who will be the contractor with the company you send us.
ITALIAN INDIVIDUAL 2 [IT2]: You mean the bank.
RU2: Bank, investment bank. So after this as you mentioned, we will be also possible to discuss whatever done will be the most suitable for both sides in terms of delivery.
SAVOINI: Ilya [sp.?], sometimes is better that Luca can translate for Francesco.
RU2: OK, OK, sometimes…
SAVOINI: (in Italian) “Better otherwise he… [INAUDIBLE]
IT2: My god, milon [sp?] unpaid work.
SAVOINI: I need that Francesco knows everywhere, now.
IT2: OK, so can I suggest, Ilya, can I suggest that you make just small phrases so that I can…
RU?: Sure, sure, sure, OK.
IT2: So let’s cancel, let’s restart from the beginning. Nonno. How do you say “nonno” in Russia? Gadushka [sp.?]?
ITLIAN INDIVIDUAL 3 [IT3]: Sprits, spirits.
IT2: Yes, yes, humor.
Savoini: English humor.
RU?: Yes, English humour.
IT2: You know this is the only thing that I can do. [repeats same sentence in Italian] To speak English so you don’t understand and I take some freedoms… Sorry.
IT3: (in Italian) I know.
RU2: In general.
IT2: (in Italian) Generally speaking…
RU2: We have Eni who will be on the Italian side, yes? We have Russian oil company on our side, and we have two companies in the middle. The bank, you are the bank, and one Russian company who will be, who will sign the contract with the bank.
[IT2 translates to Italian]
IT2: The fourth company is… We can say seller mandate for the fourth company? We are not going to buy directly from a major, right?
IT2: We are not going to buy directly from the major.
INAUDIBLE ITALIAN IN BACKGROUND
IT2: Francesco says no problem to have a fourth company in between. The most important is that it is a well-known company, because otherwise we are going to have problems with KYC [Know Your Client] and AM…[Anti-Money Laundering rules]
RU1: What is criteria? Can we receive some criterias which we should fulfill?
IT2: Well, the best would be major to major and the bank in between. Right. The best would be major to major. Why? Because we make a purchase contract with Russian major, we make sale contract to Italian buyer, major, and this is going to be a back-to-back contract so clearly shown to everybody, maybe without the price but it’s clearly the contracts are linked. If we need another company in between, then we need to have need to have a, you know, reasonably well-known company. I make an example. If it is Lukoil selling, we would like to have Litasco. OK. Just to…
[ESPRESSOS AND BEVERAGES ARRIVE AT THE TABLE]
Or if it is…
RU2: Rosneft, for instance.
IT2: If the company in between is Trafigura, no problem for anybody. It should be a well-known, otherwise we run the risk.
RU2: What is better? Just to discuss. This company will be in Russia or in the European…
IT: Europe, definitely.
RU2: So what are we talking about…
RU1: I got it. The only thing I didn’t get is what’s a back-to-back contract.
RU2: If the deal will be signed between, let’s say, Rosneft and their company, the investment bank he mentioned will be the formal buyer bank and it will get the additional margin. In fact, the oil will go from one [INAUDIBLE] to another company. They will make all the calculations. Essentially, the money will go from the bank that is financing [INAUDIBLE] to the bank that is financing [INAUDIBLE]
RU1: Four instruments?
RU2: That’s preferable. Why? Because if the company, which is buying from our big oil producers, Rosneft or Lukoil, and later selling, a fourth company appears, then this is… [INAUDIBLE] They have a certain monitoring procedure and if the company doesn’t match the…
RU2: [INAUDIBLE] they will have problems.
RU1: And this company is from our side?
RU3: Won’t they be able to?
RU2: Yes, but he’s saying that if this company is at the level of Trafigura — a trading structure of TNK or Rosneft — then that’s fine. Meaning, if this is a well-known, normal company, that has reasons for which this deal is happening through it.
RU3: [INAUDIBLE] Can’t we show?
RU2: If it will look like a shell company, there will be risks.
RU3: How should we act, then?
RU2: We should choose the company that meets the conditions. Janko [sp.?] said that ideally this should be a company that is in the EU.
RU2: This company can’t be from Eastern Europe.
RU1: But in general, this is a task we can solve?
RU2: Everything is solvable.
RU2: Is bit more we discussed because also we speak a lot about some options.
IT2: But Ilya, look, it’s…it’s, I just want to make it clear that if there is any suggested methods from your side, we might be very flexible. Now it’s more up to you in order to guess or to make the best strategy to sell the products. The bank is an English bank so is subject to FCA or to BaFin in Germany. So as far as we are dealing major to major, there is no problem. Everybody knows Rosneft. Everybody knows Eni. Everybody knows. If there is another in the middle…
RU2: A trader.
IT2: If is a trader is better, but if you need to have an unknown company, it might also be possible, but then we will need to carry out a “know your client” procedure. It will take a few weeks, so but…
RU2: It will be… We will have to change the timings.
IT2: Because the best for us, and once more if it is easier for you to sell FOB Black Sea, it’s OK with us because maybe we will ask for zero point discount to cover the logistics, so the shipping costs maybe. But maybe it’s cheaper for you instead of putting in Rotterdam, you can just say you come to Novorossiysk. You say to come, this is the quantity you come with your own ships, vessels, you upload, you go, this might be also an option. If it’s more convenient for you. We just…once again, the bank is our bank, so we are flexible. And we can, you know, be very flexible.
RU2: Since the bank is located in the UK, it must comply with the requirements of [INAUDIBLE] So there shouldn’t be any problem with a large trader. But if the company is at some sort of other level [size], then, according to the standards of the checking process, it won’t pass through formal criteria. It is possible, but if it will take a lot of time, they won’t be happy about this. But they are flexible about everything else, like the port of Rotterdam or the port of Novorossiysk or some other port in Russia. The difference in spending [INAUDIBLE] is not significant. From the point of view of where to send it from, we can also choose Novorossiysk. But the only question is the bank. [INAUDIBLE] because of this, the whole process can stop. [INAUDIBLE] There would be a flaw.
IT2: (in Italian) I told him we could buy from Black Sea if easier for them. We would send the ships to pick it up. They would apply a small discount on top of that one to cover logistics if easier. We have contacts with majors in Rotterdam. They are my clients. Verwater, who built all the Rotterdam port, are my clients. It’s not a big problem.
IT2: The second issue and second and last issue for us, if maybe we have spoken about in the past but now it’s the case to speak about this again. The best formula for us would be to buy open credit. Why? Because we sell open credit. What does it mean? It means that Eni takes the product and pays in a window, temporal window, one per month. There is normally 17th to 27th of each month to pay. So we, if Eni takes on the 16th, then we are going to be paid in these 10 days. If Eni takes on the 28th, then we have to wait… So in technical language this is open credit formula. We would need to have the same. Why? Because of course the major sells to Eni. Eni buys. Then Eni pays into the same bank possibly and the bank has already the order that once Eni’s invoice is settled into their account, they will settle the other type. And there is something remaining and then we will see as a bank how to handle it for the needs, OK.
So only once again, only these two issues. The first one once again we are flexible. And flexible in the sense that if Rotterdam is not convenient, we go, we come and pick the product. The second one should be open credit formula, and in such a case either we involve Intesa Russia, Banca Intesa Russia, and I think all the majors here. Rosneft, they might have an account, Eni does. Or if it is from Austria or it is from Switzerland. Because if it is Litasco, Litasco is Switzerland generally, or if it is Austria for Rosneft, Austria for instance. Then the same in terms of banks. If it is Austria, we have very good links with Mr. Moscovic, that is the owner of Winter Bank, there we can ask him to open a bank account for Eni, a bank account for the seller and do good rates. So it’s also easy. But the best would be just to give a so-called irrevocable order to the bank by which once the payment is received, the pace is made. No need to enter into this anymore. You just give an irrevocable order.
And from our side is all I think.
RU2: [INAUDIBLE] It’s ideal, of course, when both parties open an account in the same bank. If we are talking about [INAUDIBLE], then it is easier to work with Intesa. They can give recommendations to a trader without an account, so it can open it [accounts] quickly. There are also European banks they can help with. We need to think about this carefully. [INAUDIBLE]
RU1: I do not understand all of this! You are the one who has to understand all of this!
RU2: Everything will be fine!
RU1: I’m getting lost with the technicalities. Just start asking the questions that are more or less important for you.
RU3: When will [INAUDIBLE] Nikolaevich arrive?
RU1: Tomorrow or today.
RU1: Then Ilya, you should ask the questions you’re interested in. Do you understand everything now?
RU3: And if we will call [INAUDIBLE]?
RU2: Well, in terms of what we need…
RU1: Discuss everything right now! When will you discuss later? Discuss everything so that all the questions are answered.
RU2: We are talking about the quantity. For example, 3 million [metric] tons. If we run now this deal 3 million, then the deal is closed, we don’t have any huge risks. What do you think about? It’s only for half a year, yeah?
IT2: It depends on you. It depends on your capability. We have the capabilities, technical capabilities, to absorb whatever quantity given that the product is the product needed. Whatever quantities you are available too, but of course I don’t think your efforts are unlimited. Why are you talking about six months?
RU2: For example, we are talking 3 million tons during half a year.
IT2: Half a year or one year? It’s one year.
RU2: One year.
IT2: Because otherwise is 6 million in one year, which is 500,000 per month. We can accept this, we can absorb 500,000 per month for one year.
RU2: If after this year you are interested in prolonging in future?
IT2: Absolutely yes, but also if in the same year you say, look, guys, we have difficulty in placing this product say it is mazut nobody wants mazut. Let’s make an example during the year we are already buying and you say can you buy this as well, we are absolutely capable from a technical point of view to buy the product.
RU1: We are actually prepared for a lot more. I’m very nervous with these questions. How many tons? And the question was — what next? [INAUDIBLE]
RU1: Tell him — everything is clear with the general party. We will get permission for the start of the work, the start of intensive actions. But what if we will find our own [INAUDIBLE]. Verkhniy told me that we can ask — that if we find our own volumes, independent from any kind of political force, then we can get some kind of commission? How do you see this?
RU1: Now for example, we are talking about this political message about this whatever to [INAUDIBLE] but we also have some of our own contacts in the oil and gas companies [INAUDIBLE] maybe they will propose some options for delivering also gas if you are interested. Is possible to discuss?
RU2: But the question is, the contacts also are interested in some commission. If it’s possible from your side.
IT2: To recognize commission to an intermediary?
IT2: No problem. It depends of course if I buy open credit, for instance, I am going to save quite a significant amount of money. Why? I am saving money because I am not forced to access the markets and buy an instrument, a standby electric credit, it’s more than banking guarantee, a documentary one because all this has a cost. So if I do not have this cost, why not paying for commission? So absolutely yes.
RU2: So for example, this level of 4% discount from Rotterdam price. It’s a basic level which you cover all costs? And we have some [INAUDIBLE] this is a replicable contract [INAUDIBLE]. Possible, for example, 5% discount, it’s possible?
IT2: Whatever is above 4, we can return it.
RU2: There is a certain level at which [INAUDIBLE] is hard to pay, [INAUDIBLE] but from any higher level, there won’t be any questions here.
RU1: And how will they do it technically in this case?
RU2: Technically, what type of contract [INAUDIBLE] it’s possible to discurd [sp.?] this commission?
IT2: We have two ways. The first one is to have a normal NC NBIA or IMPFA according to the ICC of Paris. IMPFA is an international master fee protection agreement, so is a contract standard contract issued by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris and is exactly is clearly expressed who are counterparties, who is the so to say mandate, what is the percentage, how is paid, so on and so forth. This is normally what you do. But once again we have a bank so the counterparty, that is the one that takes the commission, should be a perfect company; otherwise the bank will have a problem in signing.
Second option it’s lawyer to lawyer. I can also enter into an agreement with a lawyer, local whatever. I am a lawyer and I can make a contract lawyer to lawyer saying…
RU1: Legal aspect, yes?
RU2: A law firm with a law firm.
RU1: Yes, I understood [INAUDIBLE].
IT2: So lawyer to lawyer it’s even easier because me as a lawyer can enter into an agreement normally. It’s called correspondents fee agreement, so given I that am paid through a council fee agreement from him, given that I need your competencies and qualities because you are a colleague and are very… and from payment from him I will pay to you and it’s easy. It’s even stronger, so up to you. It depends.
RU1: Maybe, we should also use this option everywhere?
RU3: If we will make more, then [INAUDIBLE]. If we’ll get 6% discount, what will we get?
RU1: It depends on the market price, he said.
RU3: For example [INAUDIBLE] this situation.
RU2: The question is whether we can use the company that is involved in the traide(sp.?) with Naftogaz. This is the trading company [INAUDIBLE]. It is a standard contract. This is one thing. But this would not make a huge difference with the fourth company. The second option is more comfortable. Two [INAUDIBLE] companies in fact cooperating. It’s our companies and it is making a certain profit [INAUDIBLE] finding the partner. They are getting certain percentage.
RU1: It’s also a good option.
RU2: Yes, and we have the law firm.
RU3: The law firm.
RU2: Maybe it’s also this, the second option would become more acceptable.
IT2: It’s standard.
RU2: What is usual practice?
IT2: Usual practice I don’t need to check my counterparty according to my ethic code, when I have a lawyer in front of me, I do not need to make any due diligence. He is a lawyer.
RU2: [INAUDIBLE] For example, if we receive 6% discount, what could, what type of commission is possible to make?
IT2: It’s very simple; the planning made by our political guys was that given a 4% discount 250,000 plus 250,000 per month per one year, they can sustain a campaign.
So if you ask me now what is, what is the percent if we make 6%. My first answer would be whatever is above 4%, we don’t need it. This would be the answer. We don’t need it, because we made a plan that with 4% we are satisfied. I would say we don’t need. Of course if you know…
RU2: I think we have to have a common mutual interest with them.
RU1: Is everything fine with logistics? How will he get 4%?
RU2: It will work out.
RU3: He’ll just claim the cost is 4% and this is it.
RU2: From what I understood, they don’t want to earn money, but they are interested. I mean they must be interested too.
RU3: Sure, if we’ll make 6%.
RU2: Let’s say [INAUDIBLE], so they can get some money out of this deal.
RU2: Of course I understand that also mini deals should be for both sides of course. We think that you also have to get some additional commission in this case included above 4%.
IT2: Why not? But you know, so far it’s not professional issue, is just a political issue. So we, I do not count we, he’s not counting to make money out of it. We count on sustaining a political campaign, which is of benefit, I would say of mutual benefit for the two countries.
Having said so, if the reason there is space for you to organize a bigger discount, my first answer is 4% for us is enough, provided there is an open credit so we do not have costs for the financial instrument. I would say they have made their plans on 4% net, so if you now say it’s 10% discount, I would say 6% is yours. OK? Of course we can sit at the table, but I think this is not my field anymore, but it’s easy because they have the authority to discuss. But if the first question is what do I get if I make a greater discount, I would say you get all, anything on top 4%, we don’t need it.
RU1: Is it prosecutable legally or criminally?
RU2: It’s standard. The thing that [INAUDIBLE] is talking about is one company signing the contract with another company, getting a fee and doing nothing.
RU1: All right.
RU2: In this case the fourth company is not necessary. We have to talk about this with the Comrade.
RU1: OK. Now we need to confirm fuel type? Or we have no questions about the fuel?
RU3: We know the quantity.
RU2: Well, we discussed 250,000 per month and the contract for a year. We will get diesel, if we won’t be able to get aviation kerosene.
RU1: Do we have any alternatives?
RU3: Talk again about diesel and kerosene.
RU1: Do they know about that?
RU2: We also discussed the type of fuel which you are interested in. Probably will be possible to get some quantity for aviation fuel, either 100,000, 200,000, but anyway we will try to get because you mentioned that it’s big amount [INAUDIBLE] for aviation fuel.
RU1: (in Russian) I’m simply thinking about the fact that the more we offer the boss, the more we will have, and if we will offer specifically, then…
RU2: So we will try to make contract for both type.
IT2: And if it is difficult for the aviation fuel, don’t worry. Maybe we can either find a different product or maybe we can put as we were saying in Rome, we replace with ULSD. if it is 500,000 of ULSD, is OK with us.
RU2: This is not a problem if…
RU1: Will he [one of the Italians] add something else to the list just in case? I mean not quantity, but type of products. Will he add something else to the list?
RU2: I ask about, about maybe in air aviation, we have a problem because it’s…
IT2: Don’t do it.
RU2: It’s [INAUDIBLE] license, I have another specification fuel for this list.
IT2: You just tell me and I will check the market if this is a product that I can sell.
RU2: But you have to give us the name of this type of fuel and we add to this list that we will give to the [INAUDIBLE] prime minister. We are thinking about this.
RU2: We thinking about this. Today two points of fuel, first is diesel, second is aviation, but maybe we will add another type of diesel would be a solution.
IT2: I can check. I have to ask the responsible of the, it’s called the distillates desk. The desk of distillates is aviation, is benzine, is gasoil. I will ask him whether this is another type of product we are in a position to sell at a good price, because if the price is very big and we get 4% discount, you know there is no deal. But I will check. But who am I supposed to… Because at this stage I think the best would be to write via email with him. So the .su domain. Because he has an email .su.
RU1: (in Russian) So! Let’s talk about the new type [of fuel]. If there will be a need for it, he will let you know.
IT2: We can also use WhatsApp. WhatsApp is better.
RU2: WhatsApp or Telegram.
RU1: Did you get contact information? Did you leave your contact information? What are the other questions we have?
RU3: We need to tell them that we are expecting Vladimir Nikolaevich’s return. We are waiting for him. Hopefully we’ll get the green light next week.
RU1: I was thinking about something else… I feel like I need to fly back.
RU2: We are waiting for Mr. Pligin to return when to discuss.
IT2: He is away? He left Russia?
IT2: Ah, Moscow. Not Russia. I had looked into this case. Then I will just say no, he is not on red alert in Interpol he’s not…
RU2: So it‘s possible to [INAUDIBLE]
IT: It’s possible if he wants to come to Italy we can organize it, but it is possible nobody is checking the name of his passport. OK.
RU2: Let’s talk again about the business trip to Italy.
RU3: We already talked about it, Sasha, don’t go off script! Everything’s going to be fine.
RU1: I talked to Vladimiv Nikolaevich. He said he doesn’t want to [go to Italy].
RU3: Oh! He doesn’t want to?! We have to explain that to our Italian colleagues that [INAUDIBLE] we were talking about just now.
RU2: So we will discuss this [INAUDIBLE] three companies, those who discuss the price, potential commission might be more than 4% discount.
IT2: Might be better. I think both sides have to be comfortable with whatever we need to do. It’s not easy. There are lots of hidden problems. The vessel is late. Or the vessel uploads and port authorities, Russian port authorities, say no, you cannot go. There are lots of hidden problems. Let’s make it easy from the beginning.
RU2: So Eni will use its own ships?
IT2: Eni has its own ships, but normally it depends on where the upload boat is, because might, might be more convenient to ask, for instance, Esse Di Maria [sp?], one of the biggest logistics companies, or some other company depending on where to go. So Eni has their own ships, but normally the Eni ships are up to 50,000, so the best in order to save on delivery cost would be to have at least one Aframax. Aframax is a cargo category up to 250,000.
RU2: For example, is for Baltic Sea, we can also only up to 120.
RU2: Yes. As for Novorossiysk, we will check.
IT2: You have Transneft there, so maybe they just open the pipeline, they upload and they go.
RU1: We should discuss ports.
RU2: We are talking about this now. There are options of delivery to Baltic and Black Sea.
RU3: [INAUDIBLE] small ships.
RU2: There are additional costs. If it is the port in Rotterdam, we could get costs higher due to the fact that there will be a commission. We’ll get it. Although Janko said 4% is enough for them. There will be no problem.
IT2: I think that maybe the next effort should be our joint effort should be concentrated on timetable. If we are very quick, but we need to be very, very quick, then I think first delivery might be in November and which I don’t think it’s up to you but we have to be very quick.
RU2: Also I agree with you because we have to act very quickly.
RU2: According to Janko, it’s better to create [INCOMPREHENSIBLE] from the very beginning.
RU1: We should act quickly. We agree with Gianluca.
RU2: If it is simpler, it will start working sooner.
RU2: We discussed that we have to act very quickly.
IT2: You know I am available at your disposal. If you send me a WhatsApp tomorrow, come here to Moscow, I have a multi-entry visa I can come and come here.
RU2: For your visa you can go via embassy, you can do it one day.
IT2: I don’t want my to pass by your embassy. You know your embassy in Italy is my client. I have a multi-entry. I just take…
IT2: Francesco is saying that quickness is of utmost importance because elections are just around the corner, so he says if we are OK to start very quickly and maybe then in six months’ time, there is some problem, it’s OK some problem any delay, but it’s better to concentrate the efforts once and for all and starting as soon as possible.
IT3: Is the problem (switches to Italian)… Now then afterwards two to three months it’s OK.
RU1: I have an opportunity to come to Italy in November. Does it make any sense?
RU3: Who has an opportunity? You have? So what?
RU2: So what?
[Some of the men are smoking a cigarette]
RU3: I understand English, but don’t speak.
IT2: Understand is enough. You come to Italy some time? With wife, children?
RU3: March. Next year.
IT3: I don’t speak English.
RU3: (in Italian) I don’t speak Italian.
IT2: We are now concentrating on the quickness. Given they will tell us whether it is 250 or 500 thousand. Given they will tell us if there is some other product, they will tell us if there is an extra discount to be returned. Everything is OK. I told and Andrey agreed quickness is of utmost importance. If we are quick now maybe first delivery in November; if we are not quick, then maybe it’s December, and then December we know in Italy it’s Christmas and everybody is very lazy.
SAVOINI: In Russia too. In Russia Christmas in January. Holiday Italian then Russian, we have one month of holidays. 15 December, 15 January, Italy and Russia together is holidays.
IT2: I told them that I am available upon call. I mean if they need me to take a flight to come to Moscow tomorrow, no problem. I will be concentrating on this, I am there. They can make whatever. If they need me, I am there also with the manager who can execute. I pick up the phone London, I take a plane and I am here. And the rest is up to you. You try to find the best solution.
I am sure that these elections will be good elections. The European one in May.
SAVOINI: Yes of course, of course. We are changing really the situation in Europe. And It’s impossible to stop. The history is marching, so it’s impossible. It’s really a new deal, a new situation, a new future for us. We are in the center of this process. But we have a lot of enemies, we are in a dangerous situation because our government is attacked from Brussels, from the globalist men, not Trump, but the establishment of Obama is very, very strong and inside in Italy too. We are in dangerous… it is not so simple, but we want to fight because we are in truth.
IT2: if you have any gulag, we can send you some from Italy. The gulag. Gulag. It’s a joke, but if you have a gulag, we send you a lot of people.
IT?: For reeducation.
IT?: Mental rehabilitation.
IT2: I am very hopeful.
Savoini: The feelings are good.
IT2: I don’t understand this return, who it goes to.
SAVOINI: To them. They take even 400 or whatever the fuck they need to take. It doesn’t matter. It’s a guarantee. It means they will always do that and for us, it’s OK.
IT2: Of course. With the first delivery, Gianluca, we take the bank. I want to be in the control room.
SAVOINI: He already told me where you will be.
IT2: With the first delivery you take it all. From the second you’re free. The current president, who has made his margins, we put him on a contract, £20,000 a month, great; after that ‘I”ll tell you,’ we tell him what to do. The bank will then be needed it for N other operations.
SAVOINI: There is total control.
IT2: They have a banking problem, they could need a bank with a double passport after Brexit. At that point you position yourself on a financial lane that is a lot more lucrative than material trade. Because material trade has always risk, you go to the bakers and the bread is finished. On the financial branch vice versa, you charge zero comma on transactions and you wait at home for the transfer to arrive. After that Francesco will see how to organize the return. There need to be prudent.
SAVOINI: Obviously. There I won’t know anything, nothing. Need to be more than prudent. We will have all the [inaudible] and their satellites on us. But I trust all of our abilities in our respective fields. We have created this triumvirate, me, you, and him, it needs to work that way. Just us three. A watertight compartment. Yesterday too Aleksander said the important thing is that it’s just you [three]. You, me, represent the total connection for both the Italian and their ‘political side,’ and you — with me — are my partners. Just us. You, Francesco, and me. Nobody else.
IT2: If we meet, we don’t talk about this stuff.
SAVOINI: It’s not that we won’t meet. You know Francesco better than me. It’s not that we won’t meet again. We will meet the right amount. We get along well.
IT2: You need to remove that fucking bib. Come with us and you will find friends, I’m sure.
RU3: We will say it’s a law firm.
RU2: Yes, we’ll change everything. Andrey!
RU1: Are we done here? Should we pay and leave?
RU2: Speaking about [INAUDIBLE].
IT3: (in Italian) I want to say how important it is to us to do this by December even if it is then delayed two, three months, June, July we don’t care.
[Italian and Russian end]
RU2: Concerning the future contract, I think we have all the information. We will be waiting for discussion with Mr. Evgeny [sp.?] after this. I understand the urgency. So more easy, the better. I think [INAUDIBLE].
IT2 [taking notes]: OK. Just so to have it clear, I will await for you to confirm the product, quantities and whatever you are able to. You confirm product, quantities, and price. Because you know. And I can make a nota bene it’s OK 4%, maybe higher, “to be returned.”
RU2: The best play the contract with some law firm. It’s the best.
IT2: I think so. For me, it’s very easy.
RU2: For us it seems to be very easy. Better for you. Otherwise restrictions.
IT2: I don’t need to make any due diligence if I deal as a lawyer with another lawyer, I give it for granted that the bar association to which my colleague belongs has already guaranteeing on his… So I don’t need to make any due diligence. OK open, open credit.
IT2: Open credit. And then it’s bank instructed.
IT2: I-n-t-e-s-a irrevocably to pay out once received funds. Intesa BCI Russia. And I think they have their own man inside, so it should be easy.
RU1: What is Intesa?
RU2: It’s an Italian bank.
RU1: Is it represented in Russia?
RU2: Yes! Gianluca has his own people there. He said it will be easier.
IT2: Lega they have already in the steering committee a man in there is called Mascetti and so we can talk to him. But if it’s another bank, if it’s another bank, European bank maybe, Switzerland or Austrian, then don’t worry, we do have the contacts in both in Switzerland and in Austria. OK Intesa BCI, and this is a nota bene you confirm products and business.
RU2: Delivery we discussed if Russian ports or [INAUDIBLE].
IT2: OK delivery terms either FOB Rotterdam or FOB, I would say Black Sea ports. Black Sea ports. What else? I would also say NB quickness is of utmost importance. First delivery in…
RU1: He is Italian, not Italian, but the European Trump, because he has now become the head of all the ultra right [in Europe].
RU1: Of the ultra right — Le Pen, AFD. The third biggest in Finland.
RU2: In Sweden.
RU1: He is the head of all the right.
IT2: I will just make a screenshot here and send it to you just to be on the same page. OK, gentlemen, I think it’s going in the right direction and…
RU1: And it’s my luck to make them act quickly and immediately.
IT2: You will. Maybe we can also meet in Rome if you feel like or in London, maybe at the bank or maybe we can meet at Eni also. This is just details. Let’s work at the fundamentals, then once fundamentals are OK, the rest are details to be agreed upon.
[Inaudible Italian in background]
SAVOINI: Not possible. Dollars you cannot in Russia.
IT2: You cannot work with US dollars in Russia?
RU2: We can work in any currency.
IT2: He says if bank is Russian, you cannot deal in dollars.
Savoini: [INAUDIBLE] …in Ucraina…
RU2: We cannot deal in dollars between Russian companies.
IT2: In any case, we can also use euros. We can convert. But should see if applicable platz index is also given in euros, it might be not only in dollars. But these are technicalities once more. The last will then we said delivery terms Rotterdam or Black… [Goes back to Italian]
SAVOINI [in Italian] He [Savoini] can be heard suggesting smaller initial shipment if easier. Repeats concern about USD. “Swift code doesn’t transfer.”
IT?: We need to after this meeting talk to the guy who begins with “Ma” and ends with “etti” so that they meet after the fundamentals are closed. Why am I interested? Because Eni already has accounts with Intesa, and they do too probably.
IT2: He is saying to put some attention on the financial transaction not to incur any problems. Can I say yes, we will work on it?
RU2: If we make it in one bank, for example Intesa, it will not be a problem.
IT2: I agree we have to involve the bank. Second step calling the bank, this is the need and do not charge that much. You know It’s easy. Then it’s once again political.
[BILL ARRIVES TO TABLE]
[Discussion, laughter, light discussion on who pays.]
IT?: We do it, Andrey! [INAUDIBLE].
RU?: This is not Rome.
SAVOINI: Moscow is the third Rome.
IT2: Beautiful weather. I just want to have a little walk. If you want.
RU?: I don’t like these packets. I don’t like these pictures [referring to the warning label on the cigarette pack]. In Italy it’s even worse.
RU1: I can’t buy cigarettes in Rome. Dunhill. When I saw it, I was what a terrible picture. This country is very more favorable to smokers, no pictures at all.
IT2: You know the joke. In Italy we have different pictures and there is one with a pregnant woman saying don’t smoke or you run the risk of not getting pregnant, and we male always ask for that one, the one that, that we are not going to be pregnant, please. Can I have the one no pregnancy please?
It’s stupid to smoke, to be honest. We should stop. On the other hand, is very difficult. Now Philip Morris make this electronic cigarette. I want to try.
RU1: Yuri has experience. He gave up smoking in one day. After 13 years of smoking. But now he start again.
IT2: Let’s close the deal and we stop together.
IT2: We stop smoking and we start going with the girls.
RU1: His wife will be glad.
[Chairs moving; men can be heard talking about holidays in Sicily and Sardinia, hotel names, flight times]
IT?: Let’s go.