Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman with ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, was captured on video among the members of the delegation headed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu during negotiations with the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar. The video recording was published by the Libyan Defense Ministry on its Youtube channel.
Prigozhin is the co-owner of the Concord group of companies and he has been repeatedly associated with the Wagner private military organization though the businessman denies his involvement in their activities.
The video shows the delegation headed by Haftar coming to the negotiations, entering the building of the Russian Defense Ministry. First, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Valery Gerasimov meets the delegation, then Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu greets the Libyan Delegation in the hall. Prigozhin appears on the footage at least three times: at the door when the delegation enters one of the premises and at the table as a member of the Russian organization during the negotiations.
In November last year, RBC reported that Dmitry Valerievich Utkin, known as the commander of the Wagner Private Military Company became the Director General of Concord Management and Consulting, the company managing Prigozhin’s restaurant holdings. The businessman denied his involvement with PMC Wagner.
Fontanka news agency also revealed that the individual taxpayer number of the new Director General of Concord Management and Consulting LLC is not the same as Utkin’s individual taxpayer number.
The companies related to Prigozhin supply food for the Administrative Affairs of the President of Russia, Moscow schools and the Defense Ministry, and deal with catering, construction and janitor services of the facilities and educational institutions of the Defense Ministry.
The Libyan National Army commander’s visit to Moscow took place on November 7. They discussed security in the Middle East and North Africa, the fight against terrorism and solutions to the crisis in Libya.
In October, the newspaper The Sun reported on the deployment of several dozen special forces and workers of the Main Directorate of the General Staff to Libya. The newspaper also reported that Russia supplied heavy weapons to Haftar and created two bases in the cities Tobruk and Benghazi. The presence of Libyan military was confirmed by RBC sources who are close to the Defense Ministry and Libyan authorities. The Russian Embassy in Libya denied the claims made in The Sun’s article.