Putin ‘entitled to £200k FBI reward’ if he admits he killed Prigozhin in crash

Wagner Group mercenary cries at shrine for Yevgeny Prigozhin

Vladimir Putin may be entitled to a £250,000 reward from the FBI amid claims he had Wagner Group warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin killed to avenge a rebellion which rattled the Russian leader.

Prigozhin is presumed among the 10 who died when a private jet he is understood to have been aboard crashed on its way from Moscow to St. Petersburg on Wednesday (August 23).

His apparent death has led to frenzied speculation as to whether it was a technical malfunction on the aircraft, an attack by Ukraine (which Kyiv denies) or a hit job masterminded from inside the Kremlin.

Igor Sushko, who describes himself as a Ukrainian-born US citizen on X, formerly known as Twitter, asked his 270,000 followers: “Will Putin collect the $250,000 reward from the FBI for Prigozhin?”

He added a screenshot of a FBI wanted poster with photos of Prigozhin and details of accusations against the Russian warlord, who founded the Wagner Group, fighters from which marched on Moscow in June.

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While the appeal offers $250,000 (£250k) for information leading to Prigozhin’s arrest over conspiracy to defraud the US, suggesting he had to be alive to claim the money, it did not stop Mr Sushko mocking Putin in his social media post.

Fellow users of X joined in the joke with one suggesting the Russian leader should claim his reward at The Hague, “for tax reasons”.

The Dutch city is home to the UN’s International Court of Justice, where Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky wants Putin tried for war crimes.

Another X-user chimed in: “Yes, but he [will] have to pick it up from FBI headquarters, as Swift transfer is not possible”.

Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT payments system was curtailed as part of Western sanctions triggered by Putin’s widening of the war in Ukraine.

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A third X-user simply replied to Mr Sushko’s cheeky post: “Funny, but No. Love to see him try” while another follower commented: “At the rate that Russia’s economy is going, he might have to soon”.

Putin himself broke his silence over the crash on Thursday (August 24), expressing his condolences to the families of those who were reported to be aboard the jet and referring to Prigozhin’s “serious mistakes”.

The Russian leader recalled that he had known Prigozhin since the early 1990s, describing him as “a man of difficult fate” who had “made serious mistakes in life”.

He added Prigozhin “achieved the results he needed” both for himself and for “the common cause”. Putin said: “He was a talented man, a talented businessman.”

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