Yevgeniy Prigozhin • Net Worth • House • Yacht • Private Jet • Wagner Group

Name:Yevgeniy Prigozhin
Net Worth:$1 billion
Source of Wealth:Concord Catering
Born:June 1, 1961
Wife:Lyubov Prigozhina
Children:Veronika Prigozhina, Polina Prigozhina, and Pavel Prigozhin
Private Jet:M-VITO, M-SAAN, VP-CSP

Yevgeniy Prigozhin: From Hot Dog Vendor to Kremlin’s Chef and Beyond

Key Takeaways:

  • Yevgeniy Prigozhin, known as ‘Putin’s Chef’, has risen from modest beginnings to become a prominent figure in Russian business and politics.
  • Prigozhin’s ventures, including the notorious Internet Research Agency and the Wagner Group, have been implicated in various international controversies such as election meddling and private military operations.
  • Despite multiple sanctions by the US Treasury Department, Prigozhin continues to maintain significant influence and his activities remain pivotal in understanding Russia’s internal dynamics and international strategies.
  • Prigozhin’s ability to pivot and adapt makes him a significant player in global politics, underlining the fluidity of power and wealth in modern Russia.
  • The trajectory of Prigozhin’s career illustrates the intricate relationship between business and politics in Russia and the broad reach of Russian influence on a global scale.
  • He was killed in an airplane crash on August 23, 2023.
  • He was owner of the St Vitamin Yacht, and also owns 3 private jets.

1. Early Life and Background

Yevgeniy Prigozhin, born 1 June 1961, is a Russian businessman widely recognized as “Putin’s Chef“. His early life was marked by a troubled childhood, growing up in a communal apartment in Leningrad. Prigozhin’s father served prison time for embezzlement, and his mother struggled to support the family. Prigozhin himself was no stranger to the criminal justice system in his youth, having served nine years in prison for robbery and fraud by the time he was 25.

He is married to Lyubov Prigozhina and has three children: Veronika, Polina, and Pavel.

2. Early Career and Rise to Prominence

Upon release from prison in 1990, Prigozhin ventured into the hot dog selling business at an open-air market. His ventures proved successful, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early ’90s allowed him to further expand his business activities. He soon transitioned from grocery stores to the gambling industry, and then to restaurants. His floating restaurant, New Island, became one of Saint Petersburg’s most fashionable dining spots, even hosting U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002.
By 2003, Prigozhin had established a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and had begun securing numerous government contracts. His company, Concord Catering, received a contract in 2012 to supply meals to the Russian military, with some profits alleged to have been used to fund the Internet Research Agency.

Despite his success, Prigozhin’s business practices were not without controversy. The Anti-Corruption Foundation accused him of corrupt business practices, alleging that he held illegal wealth over one billion rubles. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project even named him the Corrupt Person of the Year in 2022.

3. Wagner Group and Controversies

Prigozhin is also the self-reported founder of the controversial private military contractor, the Wagner Group. Established to support Russian forces in the war in Donbas, the group’s activities have since expanded to many regions in Africa and the Middle East.
The group faced international scrutiny in 2018, when it attacked US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, resulting in casualties during a retaliatory air strike. Furthermore, the murder of three Russian journalists investigating the group’s activities in the Central African Republic in 2018 drew significant attention to Wagner’s operations.

The group was also implicated in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Prigozhin personally overseeing the group’s progress on the frontlines. Later that year, a leaked video showed Prigozhin attempting to recruit convicts to support Russian forces in the war against Ukraine.

4. U.S. Sanctions on Prigozhin and the Internet Research Agency

In response to the Internet Research Agency’s attempts to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections through social media campaigns, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the agency. For the first time, these sanctions also targeted Prigozhin’s private possessions, specifically his three planes and the St Vitamin yacht managed through three companies: Beratex Group Limited, Linburg Industries LTD, and Autolex Transport Ltd. As a result, U.S. entities are now prohibited from engaging in transactions with these companies, and any of these properties entering U.S. jurisdiction are subject to seizure.
The U.S. Treasury’s actions underscore the seriousness with which it views Prigozhin’s activities, providing a stern warning to those who may be involved in facilitating or supporting his actions.

From his humble beginnings as a hot dog vendor to becoming one of Russia’s most influential businessmen, Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s life is a testament to the twists and turns that can shape an individual’s path. His story continues to unfold amidst a complex backdrop of international politics and controversies.

5. Looking Ahead

Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s influence extends beyond the bounds of his native Russia. His involvement in various activities, from running a catering empire to founding a private military contractor and managing a so-called ‘troll farm’, has attracted global attention. Prigozhin’s story offers a unique perspective into the interplay between business and politics in Putin’s Russia, even as it raises significant questions about the role of individuals and private organizations in international conflicts and digital misinformation campaigns.

Despite facing significant sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department and continuous scrutiny from the global media, Prigozhin remains a prominent figure in Russia’s business and political landscapes. His apparent immunity to repercussions, despite involvement in various controversies, paints a picture of the opaque nature of power dynamics in present-day Russia.

Regardless, Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s trajectory makes it clear that he is a player to watch in the ever-unfolding drama of global politics. With an ability to pivot and adapt that has seen him rise from a hot dog vendor to a billionaire oligarch, Prigozhin is an embodiment of the fluidity of power and wealth in modern Russia.

6. Airplane Crash

Prighozin was killed on August 23, 2023, when his Embraer Legacy 600 (RA-02795) crashed near Kuzhenkino in Tver Oblast, approximately 100 kilometers north of its departure point in Moscow.

Among the fatalities were two prominent figures linked to the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, a private military firm backed by the Russian government. This incident led to theories suggesting that the plane might have been deliberately brought down by orders from the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, due to Prigozhin’s previous rebellion against the military leadership of Russia.

Flightradar24 data revealed abnormal fluctuations in the plane’s altitude just before the crash. Visual indicators from the crash site suggested a major structural breakdown of the aircraft. Western intelligence agencies have posited that an explosion was the probable cause of the plane’s crash.

The airplane, produced by the Brazilian corporation Embraer, had ties to Prigozhin since 2018 and was prohibited from entering the United States due to sanctions placed on Prigozhin.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin

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Prigozhin Yacht

He was the owner of the yacht ST Vitamin.

The St Vitamin yacht is a 37.4-meter superyacht built by Astondoa S.A. (Astilleros) in Spain in 2005.

The yacht features both exterior and interior design by Nuvolari Lenard, known for their elegant and functional designs.

St Vitamin can accommodate up to 12 guests and 4 crew members, ensuring a luxurious and comfortable journey.

Constructed with a durable GRP hull and superstructure, the yacht is powered by three MTU engines that give her a top speed of 34 knots.