- At least six Russian oligarchs have been found dead in recent months.
- Some died in suspected murder-suicides along with their wives and children.
- Several of the deceased oligarchs had ties to major Russian gas companies Gazprom and Novatek.
Last week, Russian oligarch Sergey Protosenya was found dead in Spain alongside his wife and daughter. The local police working theory is that it was a murder-suicide.
But his son has publicly dismissed the theory, telling MailOnline his father ‘is not a killer’.
The day before, another oligarch, Vladislav Avayev, had been found dead in Moscow with his wife and daughter in another suspected murder-suicide.
The pair are the latest in a string of oligarchs who have died in recent months in apparent suicides, many of whom had ties to major Russian gas companies.
“In any case, there are widespread suspicions that the deaths may have been staged as suicides, but who did this and why? Grzegorz Kuczyński, director of the Warsaw Institute’s Eurasia program, told Fortune.
Here is the full list:
Millionaire oligarch Sergey Protosenya was found hanged in a rented luxury villa in Spain on April 19, according to Spanish TV channel Telecinco. His wife and 18-year-old daughter were also found dead in the apartment with stab wounds.
The Catalan police force investigating the deaths said their main working theory was that it was a murder-suicide, a spokesperson for Lloret De Mar Town Hall previously told Mia Jankowicz of Insider.
Protosenya, 55, was a former employee of Novatek, a major Russian natural gas production company.
Novatek questioned the theory that Protosenya killed his family, calling him “an exceptional person and a wonderful family man”.
Her surviving son Fedor also dismissed the murder-suicide theory, telling MailOnline his father ‘could never do anything to harm’ his mother and sister.
“I don’t know what happened that night, but I know my father didn’t hurt them,” Fedor said.
Protosenya had a personal fortune of over $433 million, according to Telecinco.
Vladislav Avayev, 51, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his Moscow apartment on April 18, along with his wife and 13-year-old daughter, Russian news agency TASS reported.
He was the former vice president of Gazprombank, a private subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom.
The Avayevs’ apartment was locked from the inside and investigators are prioritizing the theory that he shot his wife and daughter before killing himself, TASS reported.
Vasily Melnikov was found dead in his apartment in Nizhny Novgorod, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on March 23.
The billionaire was stabbed to death, as were his wife and two sons, aged 10 and 4. Knives, believed to be the murder weapons, were found at the scene, the outlet said.
Police are investigating the theory that Melnikov killed his family and then himself.
Melnikov owned medical equipment supply company MedStom and Ukrainian outlet Glavred reported that they suffered significant losses due to Western sanctions.
Another theory, according to Glavred, is that the businessman was murdered following a dispute with a former business associate and had taken extra security precautions.
However, Kommersant reported no signs of forced entry into the apartment.
Ukrainian-born oligarch Mikhail Watford was found hanged in the garage of his home in Surrey, England on February 28, according to the BBC.
Watford, in his 60s, was born in Soviet-era Ukraine and made his fortune in oil and gas. He moved to the UK in the early 2000s with his Estonian wife, the outlet said.
Surrey Police said the investigation was ongoing but there were no suspicious circumstances “at this time”, the BBC said.
Alexander Tyulyakov was found hanged in the garage of an apartment near St. Petersburg on February 25, according to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Police told Gazeta they found a suicide note next to his body.
Tyulyakov, 61, was an executive at Russian energy giant Gazprom, and the company is also investigating his death, according to Gazeta.
Gazeta cited a report by Russian media Fontanka.ru that Tyulyakov was severely beaten on the eve of his death.
Another senior Gazprom executive, Leonid Shulman, was found dead in a cottage in the same village in January, before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, according to Russian media company RBC.
A suicide note was found next to his body stating he did not want to be a ‘disabled person’ or a ‘burden’ on his family and complained of unbearable pain in his broken leg, according to Gazeta and the Russian media 78.ru.
Shulman was on sick leave due to a leg injury, 78.ru reported.
However, Gazeta said investigators question the note’s authenticity, adding that Shulman could have afforded high-quality painkillers.