A Russian billionaire was killed in a mysterious chopper crash on the way to Monaco on Friday. Vyacheslav Taran, 53, was the founder of Forex Club and president of the Libertex Group trading platform. Taran is the third cryptocurrency figure to die unexpectedly in the last month.
Taran was the sole passenger of a Monacair Airbus H130 chopper that had taken off in Lausanne, Switzerland, and was en route to Monaco, when it crashed into a hillside near the French town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, according to local reports. The aircraft pilot, a 35-year-old French national, was also killed in the crash.
French authorities and Airbus have reportedly launched a formal investigation into the cause of the crash. The aircraft was operated by an experienced pilot in good, clear weather. And the France Bleu network reports that a second still unidentified passenger had canceled at the last minute.
The Russian crypto billionaire is survived by his wife Olga, founder of Hello Monaco, and their three children. He had been living in Monaco with his family for the past decade.
Back home, Life.ru, a pro-Kremlin news outlet reported that Taran had “enemies in Russia.”
“The businessman earned millions of dollars not even as a trader, but by actively involving Russian citizens in currency speculation, promising them fabulous incomes with minimum investments,” the publication wrote. “No one knows how much money was pulled out of the wallets of Russian citizens in reality,” and added that “this is why Taran had many dissatisfied clients and enemies in Russia, who could have very well gotten to him abroad.”
UNIAN, the Ukrainian news agency, on the other hand claimed that the billionaire likely had “ties to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service,” and was likely responsible for “laundering Russian funds through a system of cryptocurrency operations,” but was unable to cite any evidence.
Taran’s sudden passing comes just days after Tiantian Kullander, also a Russian crypto billionaire, died “in his sleep.” The 30-year-old was co-founder of Hong Kong-based Amber Group, a cryptocurrency trading platform that was recently valued at $3 billion.
Details surrounding Kullander’s death are sparse, Amber Group said in a statement posted on its website that the co-founder, lovingly called TT, passed away on November 23. He is survived by his wife and their young son.
On October 29, the body of Nikolai Mushegian, co-founder of the crypto lending platform MakerDAO, was found on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mushegian had drowned after being dragged by the strong sea currents of Condado beach, which is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous beaches to swim in.
Mushegian, who was only 29, was called the architect of the Dai stablecoin. Prior to his sudden passing, he had tweeted that he feared that the CIA and the Mossad were after him. But he had a history of mental health problems and his family had said that his death was not suspicious, nor was it related to his tweet.
Mushegian, Kullander, and Taran join a yet still growing list of sudden and mysterious — and for some, gruesome — deaths involving Russian businessmen this year.
In September, Ivan Pechorin was found drowned about 100 miles off of the far eastern city of Vladivostok. He was the Aviation Director for Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV), which is President Vladimir Putin’s project for developing the rich energy and mining resources of the country’s Arctic region.
A week before that, Lukoil’s Ravik Maganov reportedly fell from a hospital window. Maganov was reportedly critical of the war in Ukraine.
Information for this briefing was found via Life.ru, the Daily Mail, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.