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Stash of fake documents, cash, and unidentified powder found at Prigozhin’s St. Petersburg office
On June 24, when Wagner forces were still en route to Moscow, the news publication Fontanka wrote that the authorities raided founder Yevgeny Prigozhin’s office in St. Petersburg (reportedly located at the Trezzini Hotel). Reporters say officials recovered the following items:
- five kilograms (11 pounds) of gold,
- cash in U.S. dollars,
- six pistols,
- five kilograms (11 pounds) of a white powder, and
- several passports with photographs of Prigozhin but under different names.
Soon after Prigozhin’s men turned around, Fontanka deleted the post, but the information had already spread to other outlets. Journalists have learned the follwing about the recovered documents:
- A domestic Russian identification document with the name “Vladimir Bobrov” and a passport under the same name. According to Bumaga, it appears as though someone with this name does, in fact, exist. A resident of Ostashkov with these passport details reportedly ran for local office as a member of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). It’s not clear what connection he has to Prigozhin, however.
- A passport under the name “Dmitri Geilor.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a person with this name was a client of the Sogaz clinic in St. Petersburg. The clinic reportedly treats high-profile patients. In the clinic database, it says “Super VIP” next to his name. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty suggests that Prigozhin has visited the clinic under this pseudonym. The outlet also reported that a person with Geilor’s name and birth date searched for a job as a driver in 2017, with a desired salary of 40,000 rubles ($474).
- A corporate certificate under the name “Sergey Ivanov,” issued in French. The news outlet SOTA discovered that the certificate belongs to a “security specialist” and was issued by a company called SEWA. The company is located in the Central African Republic and is responsible for “protecting” Wagner Group’s operations in the country. SEWA is sanctioned by the U.S.
- A domestic Russian identification document under the name of “Oleg Semenov.” Journalists weren’t able to find any more information.
Three other passports were found in Prigozhin’s name but featured photographs of another person who looked only vaguely like Prigozhin.
On June 24, Fontanka reported that a Gazelle vehicle was parked next to the hotel where the documents were found. Authorities found dozens of cardboard boxes inside the vehicle with cash totaling 4 billion rubles ($47.4 million). Prigozhin later posted an audio message, in which he claimed that the money was to pay Wagner fighters and members of their families:
It wasn’t just the Gazelle vehicle that was found, but also two other minibusses, which contained money intended to compensate so-called “cargo 200” [military jargon for coffins in transport] and for other issues.
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