The Wagner mercenary group shifted from assisting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to briefly rebelling against President Vladimir Putin this weekend, a dramatic shift after the group and its owner—oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin—amassed power and reportedly earned hundreds of millions of dollars by securing Russian government contracts, capitalizing on other nations’ natural resources and backing unstable regimes.
The Wagner Group has offered security services to scores of weak and war-torn African and Middle Eastern countries, and companies allegedly linked to Prigozhin generated $250 million from natural resources in those nations in the four years before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an investigation from the Financial Times found.
Syria: Wagner has reportedly helped Russian-allied President Bashar al-Assad fight rebel groups and the Islamic State, and Prigozhin-connected oil companies like Evro Polis were offered a 25% cut of any earnings from oil and gas fields that the group freed from the Islamic State’s (or ISIS’) grip, the Associated Press and U.S. Treasury said in 2018.
Evro Polis generated $134 million in gross sales and $90 million in profit in 2020 alone from recapturing oilfields from ISIS during the Syrian Civil War, the Financial Times found, despite the company being sanctioned by the U.S. years earlier.
For the rest of this article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/anafaguy/2023/06/25/where-does-wagner-get-its-money-how-russias-mercenaries-turned-rebels-earned-millions-from-contracts-and-mining-deals/?sh=7fce95b4cf9e