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Several prominent Russian businessmen have died in apparent suicide in just three months

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At least eight prominent Russian businessmen have reportedly died in suicides or mysterious accidents since late January, six of them linked to Russia’s two largest energy companies. I’m here.

Four of these six cases involved Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom or one of its subsidiaries, while the other two involved Lukoil, Russia’s largest private oil and gas company.

Earlier this year, the company took an unusual public stance against Russia’s war in Ukraine, calling for sympathy for the victims and an end to the conflict.

Lukoil chairman Rabil Maganov died this week after falling out of a hospital window in Moscow, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

Lukoil confirmed the death on Thursday in a statement posted on its website.

What we know about Lukoil chairman’s death

Maganov “died of a serious illness,” Lukoil said, without mentioning the fall.

Another top Lukoil manager, Alexander Subbotin, was found dead near Moscow in May after reportedly visiting Sherman, TASS reported. said authorities were summoned to a man unconscious with heart failure. TASS reported that police had opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

In the first death reported this year, a top Gazprom official was found dead in his cottage in the village of Leninsky near Leningrad on January 30, 2022, Russian state media said. RIA Novosti reports.

The RIA reported that a suicide note was found at the scene and investigators are investigating the death as a suicide. Russian state broadcaster RenTv identified the man as Leonid Shulman, head of transportation at Gazprom Invest.

Gazprom's top manager Alexander Chulyakov.

Just a month later, another top Gazprom officer was found dead in the same village. According to the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Alexander Chulakov was found dead in his garage on February 25. Novaya Gazeta reported that he died of suicide.

CNN’s calls to Gazprom have not been returned.

CNN has reached out to the Russian Commission of Inquiry for comment on the two incidents, but did not receive a response.

In April, two Russian businessmen with ties to Gazprom died in what appeared to be a murder-suicide.

Vladislav Avaev, former Deputy Governor of Gazprom Bank.

Vladislav Avaev, former vice president of Gazprom Bank, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on April 18, along with his wife and daughter.

Citing law enforcement sources, TASS claimed that authorities were investigating Abayev’s death as a murder-suicide.

Yulia Ivanova, head of the Moscow Commission of Inquiry, said relatives found Avaev’s body after being contacted by the family’s driver and nanny by phone and being told he could not enter the apartment. was reported to have said. , because the door was closed from the inside.

Former vice president of Gazprom Bank, Igor Vorobuev, who recently left Russia for Ukraine, told CNN he does not believe Abayev committed suicide.

“His job was private banking, dealing with VIP clients. He was in charge of very large sums of money. I think I knew something and took some kind of risk,” Vorobuev told CNN in April.

The Russian Commission of Inquiry did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the matter.

Just a day later, on April 19, Sergey Protosenya, a former executive of gas producer Novatek, partly owned by Gazprom, was found dead at his home in Lloret de Mar, a Mediterranean resort near Barcelona. rice field.

The bodies of his wife and daughter, showing signs of violence, were found inside the family’s luxurious home, an official source close to the investigation told CNN last week.

Catalan police in the province of Girona, where the town of Lloret de Mar is located, told CNN on Friday that they had completed an investigation into the case and sent the findings to the court.

Police concluded that the death was a double homicide followed by a suicide.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in April, Protothenia’s son questioned that version of events, suggesting that his father was murdered instead.

“The Catalan police took a statement from the son. Other hypotheses were ruled out. They also ruled out a triple homicide,” a police spokesperson told CNN at the time. No, no,” the official added.

Russian gas tycoon Sergei Protosenya and his wife Natalia.

Novatek, Protosenya’s former employer, said he was “a great man and a great family man”.

“Unfortunately, there is a lot of speculation on this topic in the media, but we are confident that these speculations have nothing to do with reality. We hope to sort out what happened,” the company said in a statement.

Ukrainian-born Russian oil and gas billionaire Mikhail Watford was found dead at his home in Surrey, England on February 28.

Surrey police told CNN they did not believe the situation was suspicious.

Another Russian businessman, Vasily Melnikov, was found dead with his family in Nizhny Novgorod in late March, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Melnikov owned the medical supply company MedStom. A 43-year-old man, his 41-year-old wife, his two children aged 4 and his 10-year-old were found stabbed to death on March 23, according to a Russian commission of inquiry. I was.

The commission did not name Melnikov, but the age of the dead and the location of the incident are consistent with Kommersant’s report.

Regional chapters of the Commission of Inquiry did not update the status of the investigation and did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. At the time of the incident in March, he said, “There were no signs of a break-in into the apartment,” and that “a knife was found and confiscated.”

“[Investigators] The commission is considering several versions of what happened, including the murder of the child and wife by the head of the family, followed by self-harm,” the commission said.

How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provides contact information for crisis centers around the world.