An ex-aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin did not die of a heart attack in a Washington, D.C. hotel room last year as was previously reported but from “blunt force injuries of the head” as well as “the neck, torso, upper extremities, and lower extremities,” a spokesperson with the D.C. medical examiner’s office told The Daily Beast.
The medical examiner reported Mikhail Lesin’s “manner of death” is “undetermined.”
Almost immediately after Lesin’s body was discovered last November, the broadcasting outfit RT (Russia Today), widely seen as a Kremlin mouthpiece, reported that Lesin died of a heart attack, citing an unnamed “family member.”
For months, Washington authorities said the case was still under investigation, though they had performed an autopsy, and declined to disclose the official cause of death—an unusual delay.
But the news that Lesin died of multiple, violent injuries is certain to raise questions about whether the former propaganda chief for the Russian government was murdered. When police found Lesin’s body, the most interesting question wasn’t the cause of his demise, but what he was doing in the United States in the first place.
Lesin, one of the founding fathers of RT and nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his history of rolling over his opposition, had been under scrutiny by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department for potential money laundering and violation of anti-corruption laws. Lesin was suspected of hiding ill-gotten gains in nearly $30 million worth of luxury real estate in southern California, an astounding set of assets for a man supposedly collecting a civil servant’s salary. He’d also been considered for sanctions that would have prevented him from obtaining a visa to enter the U.S.
Read more: The Daily Beast