Russian authorities have returned 10 billion rubles ($111.2 million) to exiled Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin which they had seized in police raids during his aborted rebellion last month.
Law enforcement in St. Petersburg confiscated the large sum of money — along with “hundreds of thousands” of U.S. dollars and five gold bars — in raids on Prigozhin-linked properties on June 24, according to the Fontanka news website.
The searches were carried out as part of a criminal mutiny investigation into the Wagner leader, charges which President Vladimir Putin eventually agreed to drop in exchange for Prigozhin abandoning his revolt and leaving for neighboring Belarus.
According to Fontanka, police returned the cash and gold — estimated to weigh “a couple of tons” — to Prigozhin’s driver while Prigozhin himself attended a closed meeting in Moscow on Sunday.
As Wagner marched on Moscow on June 24, Prigozhin acknowledged that the seized cash was intended to pay salaries to his fighters and material compensation to families of fallen mercenaries.
Initial reports said St. Petersburg police had seized 4 billion rubles ($47 million) from a parked minivan. Fontanka later wrote that another 6 billion rubles ($66.7 million) were seized inside 80 cardboard boxes from a second van.
The outlet noted that both vans were seen in their original parking spots as of Monday evening.