The criminal case against Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin for “organizing an armed mutiny” has been closed, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said Tuesday.
The confirmation comes a day after reports said the FSB was still actively investigating the case against Prigozhin, who this weekend launched an armed rebellion against the Russian military that rattled the country's leadership.
“In the course of investigating the criminal case initiated by the investigative department of the FSB ... it was established that on June 24 its participants stopped actions directly aimed at committing a crime,” the FSB’s press service said in a statement carried by state news agencies.
Prigozhin called off Wagner’s march on Moscow late Saturday as part of a last-ditch deal that offered him immunity from prosecution in exchange for standing down and going into exile in neighboring Belarus.
Charges of “inciting an armed uprising” are punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison.
Separately, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that preparations were underway for the transfer of Wagner's heavy military equipment to units of the Russian Armed Forces.
In a televised statement late Monday, President Vladimir Putin accused rebelling Wagner fighters of treason and — without mentioning Prigozhin by name — offered them to either sign contracts with the army or leave for Belarus.
"Today you have the possibility to continue serving Russia by entering into a contract with the Defense Ministry or other law enforcement agencies, or to return to your family and close ones... Whoever wants to can go to Belarus," Putin said.
AFP contributed reporting.