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Russian oligarch and opposition nemesis buys civil-suit debt owed by Navalny and company, says he’ll ‘ruin’ him, if he survives poisoning
Should opposition politician Alexey Navalny survive his battle with a still-unknown poison, he’ll find a no-less combative Evgeny Prigozhin waiting for him in Russia. The catering magnate with alleged interests in mercenary work and troll factories has just personally acquired the rights to the 88-million-ruble ($1.2-million) debt awarded to the “Moskovsky Shkolnik” food production facility in a civil suit last October against Navalny, Lyubov Sobol, and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).
According to a statement by the Prigozhin-affiliated “Concord” catering company, Prigozhin bought the debt with the intention of “reducing this group of dishonest people to pennilessness and shoelessness.”
“Of course, if Comrade Navalny gives up the ghost, then I don’t intend personally to persecute him in this world. [...] But if Navalny lives, he must then answer to the fullest extent of Russia’s laws. As for the Anti-Corruption Foundation and Lyubov Sobol, my lawyers will begin working today on the forced collection of this debt within the limits of Russia’s laws,” Prigozhin told Concord’s press service.
In early 2019, FBK published an investigative report stating that Evgeny Prigozhin owns “Moskovsky Shkolnik” (he denies this) and accused the company of spreading dysentery in Moscow kindergartens and schools in December 2018.
Moskovsky Shkolnik sued Navalny, Sobol, and FBK in civil court for 500 million rubles ($6.6 million) in damages to its business reputation. In October 2019, a court awarded the company roughly 88 million rubles. The ruling was so massive that Navalny announced in July 2020 that FBK would be forced to liquidate and reopen as a new legal entity called the Rights’ Defense Foundation. In another bizarre publicity stunt, Prigozhin donated 1 million rubles ($13,190) to FBK, which the organization returned.
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