Evgeny Prigozhin, an entrepreneur known as “Putin’s chef” due to his catering contracts with the Kremlin, on Monday admitted to interfering in the US election and said he would continue to do so, confirming the allegations for the first time by refusing. For years.
“We have interfered, we are interfering and will continue to interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way,” Prigozhin said in remarks posted by his social media spokespersons.
Prigozhin, a dozen other Russian citizens, and three Russian companies have been accused of waging a covert social media campaign to stir up discord and divide American public opinion ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.
They were indicted in 2018 as part of Special Adviser Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.
The Department of Justice in 2020 moved to drop charges against two of the indicted companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, saying it concluded that a trial against a corporate defendant with no presence in the United States and no prospect of significant punishment even if convicted, he would likely expose sensitive law enforcement tools and techniques.
“While the headline may suggest that Russia has no interest in interfering in Tuesday’s US election, the actual citation – using the traditional Russian commercial art of intentional ambiguity – implies that Russia is targeting the medium term. US intelligence has released multiple assessments that Russia has deployed influence operations targeting several US elections, the latest being in 2020. Russia’s traditional MO is not changing votes or helping a specific political party or candidate. It is to undermine the confidence of US voters in the electoral process and to create problems “, Rebekah Koffler, author of, “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” She said.
Prigozhin had so far denied involvement in election interference.
He had also previously denied ties to the Wagner mercenary force, but admitted in September that he founded and funded it in 2014 and began to speak out about his involvement in the war in Ukraine.
“He allegedly oversaw and approved their political and electoral interference operations in the United States, which included buying space on American computer servers, creating hundreds of fictional characters online, and using stolen identities of people from states. United “, the FBI he said in a wanted poster in March.
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Louis Casiano of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.