Putin's 'Personal Chef' Sues Yandex and Google Over Search Result Links

June 1, 2016 — 17:08

St. Petersburg restaurateur and billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin has filed to sue online giants Yandex, Google and Mail.ru over their refusal to remove information about him from their searches, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday.

Prigozhin has filed 20 lawsuits against the Internet companies over the past three months, 15 of which are against the Russian online company Yandex, the RBC news website reported.

An unidentified Yandex representative told Vedomosti that Prigozhin is to appeal the company's refusal to remove certain links about him from their online searches.

By typing Prigozhin's name into Yandex or Google, users can find information on an investigation into his business carried out by media outlets Forbes and Novaya Gazeta. There is also a number of blogs and articles in which he is called an ex-convict, Vedomosti reported. It is still not known which links Prigozhin wishes to be removed.

Russia's law on the "right to be forgotten" came into effect on Jan. 1. The act requires search engines to remove any references to illegal, incorrect or irrelevant information about an individual at their request. If the company refuses, they can be sued and face a one million ruble ($14,900) fine if the court rules in favor of the claimant.

Prigozhin is known to be close to the Kremlin and has personally served dinner to Vladimir Putin and his foreign counterparts, Vedomosti reported. His company Concord Catering operates a number of restaurants in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including one in the White House government building.

Earlier this week, a criminal case into one of Prigozhin's security guards was opened in connection with alleged use of violence against the police.

The clash took place after local traffic police and the security services pursued Prigozhin's cortege in St. Petersburg, city news website Fontanka reported. The two cars allegedly ignored traffic police's repeated orders to stop.