Russian top businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a resident of St.Petersburg, might have been present at the negotiations of the CAR authorities and the armed opposition, the BBC reports. The negotiated agreement is expected to put an end to the civil war in the Central African Republic.
Prigozhin, whose nickname ‘Putin’s Chef’, is notorious for patronizing the private military company Wagner – a grouping of Russian mercenaries led by Commander Dmitry Utkin.
The talks started on January, 22 in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. On the same day, the Raytheon HAWKER plane (registration number M-VITO) flew to Africa from St. Petersburg. Earlier, the arcraft came into the picture in the investigation by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta; the journalists stated that its owner was Prigozhin.
According to Novaya Gazeta, over the last two years the plane has made ten flights from Russia to Africa. The investigative journalists failed to define its destinations since it was invisible to online flight trackers in Egypt’s air space. During the recent flight, a pilot also disabled the radar to avoid of being spotted. However, it flew to Khartoum and Prigozhin was on board, the BBC states.
Similar situation took place on January, 30, February, 3 and February, 5. The reports about the agreement between the CAR authorities and the opposition appeared on February, 5.
A source close to the crony of Putin confirmed to the BBC that he had flown to be present at the talks, but he had not participated in formal public meetings.