Russia returns $111 mln in cash and gold seized in raids to exiled Wagner’s Prigozhin
Russian authorities have returned 10 billion rubles ($110.6 million) to exiled Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin which they had seized in police raids during his short-lived insurrection last month, the Moscow Times reported on Wednesday.
Russian law enforcement in St. Petersburg confiscated the large sum of money — along with “hundreds of thousands of US dollars and five gold bars” — in raids on properties linked to Prigozhin on June 24.
Prigozhin had started a brief revolt the weekend of June 23 but it swiftly ended with him calling off his Wagner forces’ march on Moscow after agreeing to a deal which would see him exiled in Belarus without any legal action taken against him in Russia thanks to the mediation of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
The Moscow Times report said the raids were “part of a criminal mutiny investigation” into Prigozhin. However, since the charges against him have been dropped as per the deal Lukashenko struck with Russian President Vladimir Putin, “police returned the cash and gold — estimated to weigh ‘a couple of tons’ — to Prigozhin’s driver while Prigozhin himself attended a closed meeting in Moscow on Sunday,” according to the report.
Russian online news outlet Fontanka had initially reported that St. Petersburg police had seized 4 billion rubles ($44.2 million) from a parked minivan, then later wrote that another 6 billion rubles ($66.4 million) were seized inside 80 cardboard boxes from a second van.