EU court rejects Putin ally appeal against Libya sanctions

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A top EU court on Wednesday rejected a bid by Kremlin-linked oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, alleged financier of the Wagner mercenary group, to overturn sanctions imposed over the conflict in Libya.

Prigozhin had challenged a 2020 decision to freeze his assets in the European Union and to place him on a visa blacklist over the deployment of Wagner fighters to the war-torn north African country.

Prigozhin claimed he had “no knowledge of an entity known as Wagner Group” and said the EU had failed to justify the move. But the EU’s General Court rejected his case and confirmed the sanctions against him.

It said the bloc had provided “specific, precise and consistent evidence demonstrating the numerous close links between Mr Prigozhin and Wagner Group.”

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Prigozhin, reputedly a top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was also sanctioned by the EU in April 2022 over the Ukraine invasion and is blacklisted by Washington for meddling in the US elections.

Shadowy outfit Wagner has been accused of deploying mercenaries with the backing of the Kremlin in hotspots, including Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Central African Republic and Mali.

The EU alleged it breached an international arms embargo on Libya and that its fighters were engaged in military operations against UN-backed authorities.

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