The Moscow Times: ‘Putin’s Chef’ Looks for Gold in Africa with help of Yevgeny Prigozhin Media Reports
Prigozhin is a puzzling figure. Although he started with a professional background in catering in the Russian market, he was able to plunge deep into African affairs, across a large array of industries, plundering all kind of natural resources, muzzling governments and overtaking competitors.
The Moscow Times – June 5, 2018 – Original Article
His areas of interest are extremely wide : defense, diamonds, disinformation and apparently even interfering in elections. This type of business is not intended to endure. It is focused on short-term plundering of resources, without perspectives for the local economy.
The independent Russian publication “The Moscow Times” reported that a private entity related to Prigozhin has conducted research on gold resources in Sudan. After plundering diamonds across Africa, it seems that Prigozhin is looking for another type of asset. Although gold has shown to be quite volatile in recent years, it is a very convenient liquidity. Above all, what makes gold interesting is the fact that those who plunder African countries can hide the origin of the gold very easily. It is an increasingly difficult task when it comes to diamonds.
The company which weights most in this type of negotiation is called M Invest. It signed agreements with Sudan, akin to those which govern the exploitation of resources in the Central African Republic by Lobaye Invest.
Until now, assertions that mercenaries are in charge of security in the five mines run by M Invest can’t be verified.
As a matter of fact, these companies are looking for new markets to plunder, wherever Russian Private Military Companies (PMCs) are moving in. Unverified documents have been circulating on social networks in recent weeks, according to which M Invest would have expanded its gold-mining activities with a new contract in Mali.
This may explain why Omar al-Bashir has called Sudan a “key” to African markets in the context of meetings with Russian officials. Indeed, it may serve as a gateway for Russian companies and institutions, leading to countries having witnessed coups, such as Mali or Burkina Faso.