The British Embassy in Moscow used the providers of a Russian catering firm that was charged with conspiracy in reference to allegations of interfering within the 2016 US election as a part of an indictment returned final Friday by particular prosector Robert Mueller.
BuzzFeed Information understands that the St. Petersburg and Moscow-based firm, Harmony Catering, was a provider to the UK’s diplomatic mission within the Russian capital till December 2013, just some months earlier than operations to intrude with the US political system allegedly started. After the contract with the catering firm ended, the embassy launched a aggressive tender, and Harmony determined to not put itself ahead for it.
Nonetheless, the embassy’s emblem remained listed as a shopper on the catering firm’s web site up till November 2017. It was taken down three months in the past upon request of the UK International Workplace – and solely after BuzzFeed Information approached the British authorities to ask in regards to the embassy’s relationship with Harmony.
The International Workplace confirmed in November, and once more on Sunday, that the Moscow embassy had a contractual relationship with the catering firm till the tip of 2013, however declined to supply an on the document remark for this story.
Allegations about hyperlinks between Harmony Catering, a second firm referred to as Harmony Administration and Consulting, and the Web Analysis Company, Russia’s infamous troll farm, have been reported earlier than. All three entities are listed as defendants within the indictment printed on Friday. The troll farm’s existence was first documented in a September 2013 report by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
In accordance with the indictment, Harmony was the company’s main supply of funding for its 2016 operation, and the operation at one stage had a month-to-month funds of $1.25 million.
The Harmony corporations are owned by Russian businessman Evegny Prigozhin, who can be listed in final week’s indictment together with 12 different people. Prigozhin has for years been seen as near Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, and has been dubbed Putin’s “private chef”. Prigozhin allegedly accepted and supported the marketing campaign, and acted with the total information of the opposite defendants.
In 2016, the US Treasury Division imposed sanctions on Prigozhin over the battle in Ukraine. The 2 Harmony corporations had been added to the Ukraine sanctions record a yr later.
Requested about Mueller’s indictment final Friday, Prigozhin informed Russian media outlet RIA: “Individuals are very impressionable individuals, they see what they need to see.”
He added: “I relate to them with nice respect. I am not upset in any respect that I am on this record. In the event that they need to see the satan, allow them to see it.”
Harmony Catering didn’t reply to a request for remark.