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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper Says Zhirinovsky Tied to Mob

Ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky was once financed by an alleged leader of the Russian underworld and participated in his financial frauds, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Sergei Gorshkov, whom Russian police suspect of involvement in numerous money-laundering schemes, has given Zhirinovsky's party over $300,000, the respected weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta said.

Gorshkov, a businessman, now lives in Paris.

The newspaper said that in the summer of 1992, Gorshkov got false bank guarantees from two commercial companies associated with Zhirinovsky's party, allowing Gorshkov to pocket $2.5 million. He donated a part of the sum to Zhirinovsky's party, the newspaper quoted investigators as saying.

Questioned by police earlier this year, Zhirinovsky denied any knowledge of fraud but acknowledged he had accepted money from Gorshkov and other contributors. "They give, I take,'' he told police, according to the weekly. Such transfers normally went unrecorded, he said.

Zhirinovsky was en route back to Moscow on Tuesday from a visit to North Korea.

Plentiful gifts allowed Zhirinovsky to launch an aggressive election campaign last fall which brought his party a large portion of seats in parliament.