Hungarian-American financier Soros, who has invested large amounts of money in liberal and progressive causes through his Open Society Foundations, last week pointed to the extreme right Salvini as a threat to the bloc's future, accusing him of planning a so-called " Italexit ". However, Soros, 89, also said Salvini's personal popularity had been declining since he resigned as Italy's interior minister last year.
Salvini reacted through his Facebook page, calling Soros an "enemy of Italy" and stating: "Being attacked by & # 39; mister & # 39; Soros is an honor and an award for me".
In a question and answer session with the Dutch magazine De Telegraaf last week, Soros said: "I am particularly concerned about Italy.
"Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega party, is stirring the country to leave the euro and the EU.
"Italian public opinion has a right to know if Salvini is in Putin's pockets."
Salvini reacted quickly, insisting: "We never received any lira, euro or ruble from Russia.
"I think Putin is one of the best statesmen in the world and I am ashamed that someone as speculative and unscrupulous as George Soros was invited to give a speech in Italy."
An Italian Senate committee today rejected a request by magistrates to investigate Salvini for refusing permission for a migrant rescue boat to land last year, when he was interior minister.
Salvini refused to allow a ship carrying more than 100 migrants rescued at sea to land in Italy in August last year, while serving in the previous coalition government.
An Italian prosecutor finally ordered the seizure and evacuation of the ship, operated by the Spanish group Open Arms.
The commission rejected by 13 votes to 7 a court request to proceed with an investigation on charges of alleged abduction of migrants.
A vote in the upper house may still reverse the committee's decision.
Under Italian law, ex-ministers cannot be tried for actions while in office without parliamentary authorization.