The creator of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, refused claims in court against Alexei Venediktov. "Putin's Chef" sued the journalist because he called him "the owner of the PMC Wagner."
This happened in the summer of 2021 on the air of Ekho Moskvy. Immediately after that, Prigozhin filed a lawsuit against Venediktov. The Presnensky District Court of Moscow in August 2022 recognized the information about Prigozhin's attitude towards PMC Wagner as unreliable. A month later, "Putin's chef" admitted that he had indeed created the PMC in 2014. On January 19, his press service published a response stating the reasons for the secrecy:
“There was a time when I had to go and sue Venediktov and others, because there was a conspiratorial need to say that the Wagner PMC does not exist. First, because the work that Wagner PMC did could not always be public. Secondly, because PMC Wagner, both in Russia and abroad, has always had many enemies and envious people. <...> Today, when the regime of silence on the PMC Wagner has fulfilled its task, I am pleased to present Comrade Venediktov with victory in this court. And if there is a desire, then to all those from whom I won them.
In response to this, Venediktov wrote on his Telegram channel: “The court has not yet made a decision, Yevgeny Viktorovich, the trial is ahead.” The journalist's lawyer, Kaloy Akhilgov , said that on February 6 the court would review its decision due to newly discovered circumstances.