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‘Putin’s chef’ demands FBI remove him from wanted list

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Yevgeny Prigozhin organises banquets for President Putin and visiting foreign leaders PHOTO: Getty Images

Kremlin-linked businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin has written to the FBI demanding that it remove him from its wanted list, calling it a violation of human rights principles, his company said on Wednesday.

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The FBI last month offered a $250,000 (210,000-euro) reward for Prigozhin, who was indicted by the United States three years ago for meddling in its 2016 presidential vote.

It said Prigozhin, who is nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because his company Concord has catered for the Kremlin, was wanted “for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the United States”.

In a statement on the social media network Vkontakte Wednesday, Concord said Prigozhin had written to the FBI director and posted a copy of the letter signed by Prigozhin and addressed to Christopher Wray on March 23.

“The FBI must immediately cease offering a monetary award to the public for my capture and delivery to the United States as this violates several principles of human rights under international law,” Prigozhin wrote.

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The Concord statement also cited Prigozhin as saying: “Fraudsters are fraudulently trying to accuse me, a squeaky clean person, of fraud.”

In addition to Concord, Prigozhin is alleged to fund the Internet Research Agency, a so-called troll farm in Saint Petersburg reported to have waged an online campaign in support of then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 US election.

Prigozhin has also been linked to the Wagner private military group, which has been accused of sending mercenaries to conflicts throughout Africa and the Middle East.

In October, the European Union sanctioned Prigozhin on charges of undermining the peace in Libya by supporting the Wagner group.

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