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Russian oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin files libel lawsuit against The Insider

Kremlin-linked catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin has filed a libel lawsuit with Moscow’s Basmanny District Court against the publication The Insider, says the press service for his company Concord. 

Prigozhin’s legal representative, Igor Yeliseyev, told RIA Novosti that the businessman filed the claim over a joint investigation published in August 2020. The report profiled a man known by the call sign “Mazai” who allegedly manages Prigozhin’s affairs in Africa. 

In addition to asking the court to recognize the information contained in the investigation as defamatory, Prigozhin’s lawsuit demands that the report be taken down within 10 days, and that The Insider publish a retraction. It also calls for the publication’s editor-in-chief, Roman Dobrokhotov, and its correspondent Denis Bilunov to publish retractions on Twitter, for allegedly reposting “false information.”

In addition, Prigozhin is demanding five million rubles ($68,800) in compensation for moral damages.

Spokespeople for the Basmanny District Court told RIA Novosti that it has yet to receive Prigozhin’s claim.

Earlier in June, Prigozhin filed a lawsuit against the Ekho Moskvy radio station for referring to him as the “owner of the Wagner PMC” during a broadcast. In May, the Moscow City Court ordered Meduza to retract a 2016 article about Prigozhin and pay him 80,000 rubles in damages ($1,100 by today’s exchange rate).

Prigozhin has also filed numerous lawsuits against opposition politician Alexey Navalny and his associates. Russian courts have recovered more than 500,000 rubles ($6,875) from Navalny in connection with these claims, along with 1.5 million rubles ($20,625) from opposition politician Lyubov Sobol. Russian police have also initiated a criminal libel case against Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, at Prigozhin’s request. 

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