A Russian businessman nicknamed “Putin’s leader” who is wanted in the United States for alleged electoral fraud broke his coverage to claim he is a “pacifist” with “no connection” to mercenary groups backed by Moscow.
evgeny Prigozhin has sought to set the record straight and refute claims that he is the funder of internet troll farms and Russian paramilitary forces.
Addressing exclusively to The telegraph of the day,
Mr Prigozhin (60), who has lucrative catering contracts with the Kremlin, said he had attended events with Vladimir Putin on several occasions but had “no relationship whatsoever “with him and had” no idea “of the thoughts of the president.
He has denied in the strongest terms any connection between himself and Russian paramilitary forces, in particular the dark Wagner group, suspected of being active in Ukraine, Syria and Africa.
Mr. Prigozhin grew up in Mr. Putin’s hometown of Leningrad. In 2001, he personally served Mr. Poutine in his restaurant. He has since won numerous catering contracts with the Kremlin. He
has been linked to the Leningrad-based Internet Research Agency, widely viewed by Western security officials as a troll farm and source of disinformation.
In April this year, the FBI sanctioned Mr. Prigozhin, claiming the agency was responsible for “meddling in the 2016 presidential election.” The FBI offered a reward of $ 250,000 (â¬ 216,000) for information leading to his arrest.
Mr. Prigozhin denies the allegations and said: “I have never served in the Russian government and, it bears repeating, I do not know President Putin closely.”
Mr. Prigozhin said that the West fundamentally does not understand Russia. âThe Russian state exists to protect the interests of the people of the Russian Federation and the Russian people,â he said.
âThe Russian Federation is not trying to spread democracy, authoritarianism, communism, Sharia law or any other ideology. This is something Westerners cannot seem to grasp. “
Telegraph Media Group Limited