STORY: President Vladimir Putin says that the finances of a catering company owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian mercenary boss, are being placed under investigation in the wake of the attempted mutiny by Prigozhin and his fighters over the weekend that shook that country.
It comes as Russian media are reporting that authorities have dropped a criminal case against the mercenaries in Wagner Group, apparently upholding one of the conditions of the deal that ended the revolt.
On Tuesday however, Putin announced that Wagner and Prigozhin, its founder, had received about $2 billion from the government in the last year and that the group had been “fully financed” by the state.
About a billion went to Wagner from the defense ministry. In addition, just under a billion went to the catering company, called Concord, from food contracts with the Russian army.
In this meeting with army troops at the Kremlin, Putin is saying that he hopes “no one stole anything,” but that it will be investigated.
Earlier he told a crowd of 2,500 security personnel at a ceremony there that they had stopped “civil war” from starting.
Putin doesn’t mention Prigozhin by name, who is reportedly now in Belarus beginning his exile after the incident, according to its President Alexander Lukashenko.
Lukashenko is said to have brokered the deal that ended the crisis.
On Tuesday he said that he warned Prigozhin that Russian forces would “squash” him “like a bug,” if the mutiny had carried on.