Found dead, and under mysterious circumstances, another multi-millionaire Russian businessman. On Monday afternoon, 61-year-old Yuri Voronov was shot dead in his mansion in the extremely wealthy suburb of St Petersburg. The Russian businessman was shot in the head and around him was a Grand Power semi-automatic weapon and several spent cartridges on the bottom of the pool. He is the latest member of the elite linked to energy giant Gazprom to die since the start of the year. Yuri Voronov ran a logistics company that held contracts with Gazprom in the Arctic.
Death shrouded in mystery of former employees of an energy company
Yuri Voronov is the sixth Russian businessman linked to Gazprom to die in mysterious circumstances since the beginning of the year, including two in the same suburb of Saint Petersburg. But there is more biographical data in common: the nine deaths with circumstances to be determined since the beginning of 2022 also targeted oligarchs linked to Novatek and Lukoil. The exception to the rule was Vasily Melnikov, owner of medical equipment company MedStom, but whose death also captured media attention, with investigators pointing to the usual cause: self-inflicted death. Vasily Melnikov and his wife, along with their children aged four and ten, were found stabbed on March 23.
The Russian Research Committee is investigating the circumstances of Voronov’s death and has already moved forward, according to the magazine “The Independent”who, for now, attributes the murder to a “dispute with business partners”.
Yuri Voronov’s wife reportedly told investigators that the businessman thought contractors and partners were stealing “a lot of money” from him. However, several deaths at other mansions near Saint Petersburg sparked rumors that the murders were staged to look like suicides.
Alexander Tyulakov, also 61, a senior finance and security official at Gazprom, was found hanged at his home in Leninsky’s exclusive development by a companion in February. Investigators concluded that Alexander Tyulakov committed suicide, but local media noted that the body showed signs of being beaten, suggesting the hanging was staged.
We must go back before the start of the war in Ukraine to follow the trail of these mysterious deaths. Three weeks earlier, in the same housing estate, Leonid Shulman, 60, had been found stabbed to death in the bathroom of his home. Shulman ran transportation for Gazprom Invest, a subsidiary of the energy giant that manages its investment projects. Business Insider wrote at the time that a suicide note was left at the scene, but its authenticity was questionable.
A month later, on the morning of February 25, the body of another Gazprom employee was found: Alexander Tyulyakov. Police were reportedly evacuated from the scene by Gazprom security. Later, suicide was named as the apparent cause.
At the beginning of March, an oligarch of Ukrainian origin was also found dead in his home. Mikhail Watford was 66 and made his fortune in oil and gas.
In April, two Russian oligarchs were found dead with their families within a day of each other: Vladislav Avayev and Sergei Protosenya. Vladislav Avayev, former vice president of Gazprombank, was found shot and wounded in his apartment in Moscow. Investigators say Avayev shot his wife and daughter before shooting himself in the head. Just over three kilometers away, Sergei Protosenya, a former board member of the natural gas company Novatek, was also found hanged, and his wife and daughter stabbed to death.
Already a billionaire and former executive of energy giant Lukoil, Alexander Subbotin, was 43 when he was found dead in May this year in a shaman’s basement in Mytishchi after apparently suffering a heart attack. In the same month, Andrei Krukovsky died after falling from a cliff. He was only 37 years old and was the director of the seaside resort Krasnaya Polyana.
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