Since late January, at least five famous Russian businesspeople have reportedly committed suicide, with three of them apparently murdering family members before taking their own life.
Four of the murdered individuals worked for Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy conglomerate, or one of its subsidiaries.
Calls to Gazprom were not responded by CNN.
According to Russian official media RIA Novosti, a top executive at Gazprom was discovered dead at his cabin in the town of Leninsky near Leningrad on January 30, 2022.
According to RIA, a suicide note was discovered at the site, and the death was being investigated as a suicide. The individual has been identified as Leonid Shulman, the chief of transport at Gazprom Invest, according to Russian state television RenTv.
A month later, another top Gazprom executive was discovered deceased in the same hamlet. According to Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, Alexander Tyulakov was discovered dead in his garage on February 25. He committed suicide, according to Novaya Gazeta.
CNN has requested comment from Russia’s Investigative Committee on the two cases, but has yet to get a response.
Mikhail Watford, a Russian millionaire born in Ukraine, was discovered dead at his Surrey mansion on February 28.
The death is being probed by the coroner, according to Surrey Police, who stated a hearing would be conducted on July 29.
According to the Russian daily Kommersant, another Russian businessman, Vasily Melnikov, was discovered dead with his family in Nizhny Novgorod in late March.
Melnikov was the owner of MedStom, a medical supply firm. On March 23, a 43-year-old man, his 41-year-old wife, and two children ages four and ten were discovered stabbed to death, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee.
Melnikov was not named by the committee, but the ages of the victims and the location of the incident fit the Kommersant account.
The investigating committee’s regional branch has not updated the progress of its inquiry and has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. “There were no traces of unlawful entrance into the residence,” it claimed at the time of the incident in March, and “knives were recovered and seized.”
“[Investigators] are exploring numerous interpretations of what happened,” the committee added, “including the leader of the household murdering the children and wife, followed by self-inflicted suicide.”
Tass quoted a law enforcement source as saying that the Avayevs’ deaths were being investigated as a murder-suicide.
According to Tass, Yulia Ivanova, a spokesperson of the Moscow Investigative Committee, a relative found the Avayevs’ deaths after being told by the family driver and nanny that they couldn’t contact them on the phone or get into the apartment because the door was locked from the inside.
Igor Volobuev, a former vice president of Gazprombank who recently moved to Ukraine, told CNN that he did not think Avayev committed suicide.
“His position was dealing with private banking, which entailed dealing with high-profile clientele. He was in control of a substantial sum of money. So, did he commit suicide? No, I don’t believe so. I believe he was aware of something and constituted a threat “According to Volobuev,
On April 19, Sergey Protosenya, a former CEO of Novatek, a gas firm largely controlled by Gazprom, was discovered dead north of Barcelona. An official source close to the inquiry told CNN last week that his wife and daughter’s remains were discovered nearby.
Protesenya, his wife, and their daughter were discovered in Lloret de Mar, a Mediterranean tourist town near Barcelona.
According to the source, the bodies of the two women were discovered inside the family’s luxurious home, with traces of violence, while Protosenya’s body was discovered outdoors in the garden. The case is being investigated as a domestic violence double homicide with subsequent suicide.
Protosenya’s son, according to the Daily Mail, questioned the version of events, claiming instead that his father was killed.
‘He adored my mother and, in particular, Maria, my younger sister. He saw her as his princess. He was incapable of harming them in any way. I’m not sure what occurred that night, but I’m certain my father did not harm them “Fedor Protosenya, who was in France with his family at the time of the event, stated
Despite the son’s remarks, Catalan police in the province of Girona, where the town of Lloret de Mar is located, informed CNN on Friday that “the hypothesis remains to be a domestic violence case.””
The son has given testimonies to the Catalan police. Other theories have been ruled out as well.
“Is it possible that this was orchestrated by the Russian mafia? No, no, no, “Added the official.
Protosenya was described as “a fantastic person and a wonderful family man” by Novatek, his previous workplace.
“Unfortunately, there have been media rumours on this subject, but we are confident that they are unrelated to truth. We expect Spain’s law enforcement officials to undertake a full and objective investigation into what occurred “In a statement, the business stated.