'Not one piece of evidence' Russia interfered in US elections: Lavrov

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 31.10.2017 11:53
Updated 31.10.2017 16:37
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a briefing during a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Moscow on October 31, 2017. (AFP Photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a briefing during a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Moscow on October 31, 2017. (AFP Photo)

Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday allegations of meddling in U.S. and European elections are "fantasy" with no evidence.

"We are accused of interfering not only in U.S. elections but also in those of other countries without one piece of evidence," Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

"In general, there is no limit to fantasy," Lavrov added.

The Kremlin noted later Tuesday that U.S. charges against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another aide, Rick Gates, did not point the finger at Russia.

Federal investigators probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, something Moscow denies, charged Manafort and Gates with money laundering on Monday.

Despite the charges being brought as part of a five-month-old investigation into alleged Russian efforts to tilt the election in Trump's favour and into potential collusion by Trump aides, the charges, some going back over a decade, centred on Manafort's work for Ukraine's former government, not Russia's.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the investigation was an internal matter for the United States which Russia was not involved in, but was following with interest from afar.

He also commented on details of a case against a third former Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty in early October to lying to the FBI.

Papadopoulos told investigators about his efforts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russian leadership during which he said he met a London-based professor boasting of contacts with Russian officials and a Russian woman whom he described as a relative of President Vladimir Putin.

When asked what the Kremlin made of the details about someone linked to the Russian Foreign Ministry being cited in the Papadopoulos case, Peskov said the accusation was totally unsubstantiated.

"It's an absolutely laughable allegation," Peskov told reporters.

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