A Russian restaurateur who has come to be known as chef to President Vladimir Putin is facing sanctions from the United States Treasury Department. The department added Yevgeny Prigozhin to its sanctions list on Tuesday “for contributing to the conflict in Ukraine through extensive business dealings with the Russian Ministry of Defense and provision of support to top Russian officials,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Prigozhin is based out of St. Petersburg and owns a catering company that has worked for Putin and the Kremlin. He previously attempted to launch a chain of fast food restaurants called Blindonalts, according to Open Democracy, but that proved to be an unsuccessful venture. The last outpost reportedly closed in 2011. The chain served “pancakes and mini-pies stuffed with jam, meat, or potatoes,” per Frommer’s.
The U.S. has identified Prigozhin as the financial backer of so-called “troll farms” that produce pro-Russian propaganda. He’s also accused of working with private military organizations that have fought in Ukraine and Syria. The sanctions prohibit him from entering the U.S. and conducting business with any American individuals or organizations.
It remains to be seen if Prigozhin will be penalized for any significant amount of time. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who is decidedly pro-Russia, moves into the White House next month. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, has Russian ties and may recommend lifting sanctions that were levied against the country over its conflict with Ukraine.
• U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russian Restaurateur With Ties to Putin [WSJ]
• Yevgeny Prigozhin: Caterer to the Kremlin [OD]
• Rex Tillerson’s Potentially Huge Conflict of Interest Over Russia and Oil, Explained [Vox]