Igor Volubuev, an executive for Gazprombank who left Russia early in March to fight alongside Ukraine’s territorial defense forces, claims that the two recent cases of mruder-suicide by Russian oligarchs were staged.
The bodies of Gazprombank vice president Vladislav Avaev, his wife and daughter were found in their Moscow apartment on April 18. The deaths, caused by gunshot wounds, were ruled as a murder-suicide.
Sergey Protosenya, a former top manager of Russian energy giant Novatek, was found dead on April 19 in a house in Spain, along with his wife and daughter. The police say that the incident also appears to have been a murder-suicide.
Volubuev, who was born and raised in Ukraine, told Ukranian business news site LIGA.net in an interview that these incidents may have been staged, particularly Avaev’s, because he may have known too much.
Volubuev was a vice president in Gazprombank before he left to go back home to Ukraine, he did PR for industrial assets. Prior to this, he was the head of Gazprom’s press service.
According to him, Avaev reported to Vladimir Ryskin, Gazprombank’s Deputy Chairman of the Board. Ryskin, he said, “is responsible for personnel and special services for the bank’s VIP clients. That is, Avaev should have had access (if he had it) to their accounts, to information about income.”
Gazprombank has been dubbed as “the Kremlin’s personal bank,” and it serves as one of the main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas.
“It’s hard to believe that Avaev shot his 13-year-old daughter, his wife and committed suicide. In my opinion, this is a staged suicide. I think he was killed,” Volubuev claimed.
“The situation with Protosenya is very similar,” he added. “Only he allegedly stabbed everyone and hanged himself in Lloret de Mar, a small Spanish town, very populated by immigrants from Russia. All these stories are strange.”
These two incidents, which happened within 48 hours, are the most recent cases in a series of suicides by Russian gas industry executives.
Leonid Shulman, head of Gazprom’s Invest transport service, was found with deep cuts in his wrists on January 29. Alexander Tyulyakov, a senior financial and security official at Gazprom, was found hanging in a garage near St. Petersburg less than a month later on February 25.
And then on March 3, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Watford (originally Mikhail Tolstosheya), an oligarch who made his fortune in gas and oil after the fall of the Soviet Union, was found dead in “unexplained circumstances” in his home in the UK.
Shulman’s death follows an investigation into an alleged case of fraud at Gazprom. Reports also say that Gazprom’s security units were present at the scene following Tyulyakov’s death.
These deaths, according to Polish think tank the Warsaw Institute, could be the result of senior Kremlin-linked individuals “covering up traces of fraud in state-run companies.”
Information for this briefing was found via The Guardian, the Warsaw Institute, Liga, Twitter, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Views expressed within are solely that of the author. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.