Russian President Vladimir Putin said that accusations of businessman Yevgeny Prigogine in influencing the elections in the US show "how low everything that happens in the information and political sphere" of the West. Such a statement the Russian leader made in an interview with the Austrian television channel ORF. The text of the interview was published by the Kremlin press service.
Prigogine and his company Concord Managment and Concord Catering in February were included in the Sanctions list of the US Justice Department. Washington considers the list of participants in the list, in which there were altogether 13 names implicated in interference in the elections in the United States.
The president said: "I ask you to make a difference between the government of the Russian Federation, the Russian state, Russian citizens, or the Russian government," he said, adding that Prigogine, who is suspected of interfering in the elections, maintains close relations with the Russian leadership. by some legal entities. "
Putin said that Prigogine is really engaged in the restaurant business. "This is his economic base, he is a restaurateur in Petersburg," the president said.
"Do you really think that the person who is engaged in the restaurant business, even having some hacking opportunities, having some private firm in this area - I do not even know what he is doing - from this position can affect the elections in the United States or in some European country? "- asked the president and continued:" How low everything has fallen in the information and political sphere in the countries of the united West, if a restaurateur from Russia can influence the election in any of the European countries or in the United x States! It's not funny?".
To the question of the presenter, why should the restaurateur spend millions of dollars on the "troll factory", Putin replied: "Ask him. The Russian state has nothing to do with this. "
The president explained that in the United States, for example, there is George Soros, "who interferes in all affairs around the world." "And my American friends very often say to me: America has nothing to do with this as a state," the head of state said. "Now rumors have gone that Mr. Soros wants to shake the euro, the European currency. This is already being discussed in expert circles. Ask the State Department: why is he doing this? The State Department will tell you that it has nothing to do with this, it is a personal matter of Mr. Soros. And we have this personal matter of Mr. Prigogine, "Putin said.
In early February 2017, the US Justice Department published an indictment against 13 Russians, including Prigogine. All of them, in the opinion of the team of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller, are related to the Russian "troll factory", which interfered in the political life of the US during the presidential election in 2016.
Prigogine himself stated that none of his companies "is not connected with activities aimed at interfering in the American elections". "We also do not understand how the firms belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin are related to investigations in US authorities," the statement of his representative said.