Palace Intrigue: Putin’s Aide Mikhail Lesin Found Dead in Hotel ‘Murdered for Being an FBI informant’ – or ‘Could Even Still Be Alive’Posted: November 12, 2015
Will Stewart reports: The death from a ‘heart attack’ of a longtime close ally of Vladimir Putin in a Washington hotel has led to a swirl of speculation that he was murdered on Moscow’s orders after offering to help the FBI.
“Nicknamed the ‘Bulldozer’, Lesin was one of the key props of the Putin presidency, personally masterminding a wide-ranging media crackdown which has left the vast majority of Russian TV stations and newspapers obedient to the Kremlin.”
Mikhail Lesin, 57, was announced last weekend to have been found dead in the US capital. He was a Svengali figure for Putin, who was alleged to have menaced the Russian media into idolizing the strongman president.
“He also set up Russia Today, now RT, seen by critics as a ‘propaganda’ channel aimed at the West.”
The shock death has created an eave of speculation in Moscow that it is related to previous reports that he was helping the FBI – and could be murder.
There are even separate allegations that Lesin may still be alive, with his demise faked by the US authorities.
According to this version, he is being kept safe as part of a witness protection scheme, while spilling to the FBI all he knows on Putin’s Russia.
Daily Mail Online can reveal that only weeks before his death was announced, he fathered a child with glamorous model and flight attendant Victoria Rakhimbayeva.
Murdered? Mikhail Lesin and his new love Victoria Rakhimbayeva, who were photographed when she was pregnant. He was found dead last Friday in a Washington DC hotel – and now speculation is mounting about him
Claim: Lesin was reported by the TV station he set up – RT, known to be pro-Kremlin – to have died from a longstanding illness while staying at the Dupont Circle Hotel (pictured)
World traveler: Victoria Rakhimbayeva, believed to be 29, posted photographs from around the world and said that she and Lesin were planning to live in New York, although she preferred Los Angeles
“There are unsubstantiated claims in Moscow that when he died he was in debt to billionaire Yury Kovalchuk, one of Putin’s closest big business friends.”
She is believed to be aged 29, with whom he had enjoyed a close relationship since at least mid-2014.
She has not commented on his death other than to thank friends on social media for their commiserations, but before the tragedy she made clear that they intended to set up home permanently in New York.
Despite Russian reports of a heart attack, police in DC have said no cause of death has been determined while also indicating there was no obvious sign of foul play.
‘A ruling on the cause and manner of death is pending further investigation,’ said a Saturday statement.
Nicknamed the ‘Bulldozer’, Lesin was one of the key props of the Putin presidency, personally masterminding a wide-ranging media crackdown which has left the vast majority of Russian TV stations and newspapers obedient to the Kremlin.
He also set up Russia Today, now RT, seen by critics as a ‘propaganda’ channel aimed at the West.
But earlier this year, after the break-up of his marriage, and in a new relationship with his Siberian lover who he may have wed – she referred to him as her ‘husband’ – he suddenly quit the latest of several high profile positions, as head of Gazprom Media, a major state owned media conglomerate.
There are unsubstantiated claims in Moscow that when he died he was in debt to billionaire Yury Kovalchuk, one of Putin’s closest big business friends.
‘He owed huge amount of money to Kovalchuk, which he supposedly didn’t intend to pay back,’ an unnamed source told The Moscow Times.
His presence and death in Washington shocked many Russians.
Lesin was found dead at 11:30am on November 6 while staying on an upper floor at the $240-a-night Dupont Circle Hotel, seen as modest for his multimillionaire lifestyle.
It is unclear if Rakhimbayeva was in the US with him at the time.
Yet some 16 months earlier, Senator Roger Wicker had called for a Justice Department probe into whether Lesin was engaged in money laundering…..(read more)
Source: Daily Mail Online
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