Former Putin aide Mikhail Lesin found dead in US hotel

Mikhail Lesin, former press minister for Russian President Vladimir Putin, found dead in US hotel

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Mikhail Lesin

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former Press Minister Mikhail Lesin has been found dead in a hotel in the US capital of Washington DC.

Lesin, 57, is believed to have died after suffering a heart attack at a hotel in the Dupont Circle area on Wednesday.

He was found at 11:30 am local time on Thursday, Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Officer Sean Hickman told Associated Press.

His death was announced by Russian media on Friday.

Speaking to English-language Russian news service Russia Today, which Lesin helped establish, Lesin’s relatives said he had died of natural causes.

Meanwhile, police have ruled out signs of foul play, but an investigation has been launched nonetheless.

Lesin, who is accused of having played a major role in the crackdown on independent media in Russia during his reign as press minister, had been an aide to Putin between 1999 and 2004.

He had also briefly served as the head of Gazprom-Media Holding in 2013.

In a Kremlin press statement published on Friday by Russian media, President Putin hailed "the enormous contribution made by Mikhail Lesin to the formation of modern Russian media."

Last year, Lesin was caught up in a scandal over suspicions regarding his fortune when Mississippi senator Roger Wicker wrote a letter to the US Department of Justice raising concerns over a $28 million property purchase in Los Angeles.

The senator claimed that Lesin may have purchased the property with the help of individuals and groups on a US sanctions list.

TRTWorld and agencies