Catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin says he’s filing new defamation lawsuits against the opposition figures Alexey Navalny and Lyubov Sobol.
According to documents shared on social media by Prigozhin’s company, “Concord,” he is suing Navalny for a tweet where the oppositionist called him a “crook” who earned his fortune by “supplying rotten meat to kindergartens and schools.” Prigozhin is also suing Sobol for saying in an interview with the website Znak.com that he is “an asshole from the 90s drunk on power” who “gets billions from the Moscow budget for poisoning children in kindergartens, leaving them hospitalized with bloody diarrhea.” Prigozhin also named Znak.com as a co-defendant in the lawsuit.
Prigozhin is demanding 5 million rubles ($64,500) in emotional damages from Navalny and Sobol.
In early 2019, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation published an investigation accusing the “Moskovsky Shkolnik” food processing company of spreading dysentery among Moscow kindergartens and schools in December 2018. Navalny’s researchers said the company belongs to Evgeny Prigozhin, though Prigozhin denies this.
In October 2019, a court ordered Navalny, Sobol, and the Anti-Corruption Foundation to pay a total of 88 million rubles ($1.1 million) in damages to Moskovsky Shkolnik. As a result of the lawsuit, Navalny formally dissolved the Anti-Corruption Foundation and created a new entity called the Rights Defense Foundation to continue his work, though the group still operates under its old name. Prigozhin later purchased Moskovsky Shkolnik’s right to demand the court-ordered damages from Navalny and others, vowing to “reduce this group of dishonest people to pennilessness and shoelessness.”