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Interpol Drops Extradition Notice for ‘Putin’s Chef’ Prigozhin

Yevgeny Prigozhin. Michael Metzel / TASS

Interpol has removed catering magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin from its international alert list after U.S. prosecutors dropped a criminal case into election meddling against his company.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed in March the case against Concord Management and Consulting LLC, less than a month before the company was due to face a criminal trial in the case. Its executive Yevgeny Prigozhin, 12 individuals and two other entities were charged in 2018 with conspiracy to defraud the United States for their alleged role in funding a propaganda operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

On Monday, Concord posted English- and Russian-language letters on social media signed by Interpol’s legal affairs office announcing the end of efforts to extradite Prigozhin, 59. Concord said it received the letters from Interpol on Aug. 28, after submitting a request following the U.S. court decision.

“The General Secretariat of the International Criminal Police Organization — Interpol hereby certifies that Mr. Prigozhin Yevgeniy Viktorovich … is not subject to an Interpol Notice or diffusion,” the letters said.

Concord announced later that Prigozhin, with his travel bans lifted, plans business trips to the Baltics and Germany, as well as meetings in Turkey in the near future.

“Given that his plane is under sanctions, he plans to take commercial flights,” the company said.

Prigozhin has been nicknamed “Putin’s chef” for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his start in the catering business.

Prigozhin is under U.S. sanctions over his ties to the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-backed “troll farm” accused of interfering in the 2016 election. He is also linked to the Wagner Group of private mercenaries which has reportedly been deployed to conflicts in Syria, Libya, Sudan and several sub-Saharan African countries.

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