A close friend of Putin sues the EU for having sanctioned him

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Moscow | The sulphurous businessman Evguéni Prigojine, known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced on Tuesday that he was contesting the EU sanctions aimed at him for his destabilizing role in Libya via the private military company Wagner.

Last week, he lodged his appeal with the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union asking for “his exclusion from the sanctions list for Libya,” said the businessman’s company, Concord.

“The complainant does not have any information on the existence of an organization called” Wagner Group “, does not and has not had any relations with it, including financial,” continues the same source.

For the European Union, Mr. Prigojine plays a central role at Wagner, a private military company engaged in Libya. As such, he is accused of “endangering peace, stability and security in the country”.

As a result, he is prohibited from visaing and his identified assets must be frozen in the EU.

Evguéni Prigojine, 59, is part of the inner circle of relatives of the Russian president. His catering company was for a time one of the Kremlin’s suppliers, which earned it its nickname “Putin’s cook”.

The Wagner group is active in Syria and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, and suspected of being an armed wing in the service of Russia where it cannot or does not want to appear.

Sanctioned by Washington, which accuses him of having played a role in Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election, Mr. Prigojine, long very discreet, has multiplied cookie-cutter statements in recent months, in particular targeting the number one opponent in the Kremlin, Alexeï Navalny, victim of poisoning of which he accuses the Russian power.

On Monday, Mr. Prigojine also announced that he had paid nearly 400,000 euros to two Russians recently released from prison in Libya after 18 months of detention on charges of interference in the electoral process.

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