The Kremlin-affiliated businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin has sued the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and a close ally for defamation, a Moscow court said on Tuesday.
The lawsuit appeared on Tuesday on the website of a Moscow court, which later told the Russian news agency TASS that the lawsuit brought by Navalny and his ally Vladimir Milov for defamatory statements each claimed five million rubles ($ 66,000).
Prigozhin, 59, is called “Putin’s cook” because his company Concord took care of the Kremlin.
Last week, Concord posted a copy of a lawsuit on the Vkontakte social media network that it had brought before the Moscow court.
The lawsuit quoted a video stream of former Deputy Energy Minister Milov on October 27 on Navalny’s YouTube channel Navalny Live.
In the video, Milov accuses Prigozhin of “involving minors in prostitution” in his past and describes him as a “bandit who serves Putin for all sorts of bad deeds,” causing the businessman in the lawsuit to commit “moral harm.” .
Navalny, 44, did not appear on the video stream.
In August, the Kremlin critic fell seriously ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow and was hospitalized in the Russian city of Omsk before being taken to Berlin on a medical plane.
Experts from several Western countries found that he was poisoned by Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok – a claim Moscow has repeatedly denied.
While Navalny was in a coma, Concord’s press service quoted Prigozhin as saying he wanted to enforce a court ruling last year that Navalny and his staff would have to pay him almost 88 million rubles in damages through a video report.
“I intend to remove this group of unscrupulous people from their clothes and shoes,” Prigozhin was quoted as saying.
Days after Navalny was released from a Berlin hospital in September, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said officials had confiscated the Kremlin critic’s apartment as part of the damage.
In October Prigozhin was sanctioned by the European Union for undermining the peace in Libya through the support of the private military company of the Wagner Group.
He was also sanctioned by the United States for alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and for his ties to Wagner, who was accused of sending mercenaries into conflict across Africa and the Middle East.
Navalny has announced that he will be returning to Russia after a full recovery in Germany.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)