Former Putin Aide Found Dead in US Hotel

Former Putin Aide Found Dead in US HotelFormer Putin Aide Found Dead in US Hotel

A former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been found dead in Washington DC, Russian state media say.

Mikhail Lesin, 57, Russia’s former press minister and a one-time head of the powerful Gazprom-Media Holding group, died on Thursday, the RIA-Novosti and Tass news agencies report.

Russian media, quoting his family, said he suffered a heart attack.

The Washington Post said Lesin’s body was found in a room at the Dupont Circle hotel. It reported that police are investigating his death.

Last year, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker called for an investigation into Lesin, saying his fortune “raises serious questions”.

In a letter to the US Department of Justice, Sen. Wicker said Lesin bought property worth $28 million in Los Angeles for his family after finishing work as a civil servant.

Sen. Wicker asked how a former civil servant would have been able to buy and maintain expensive property and expressed concern their purchase may have involved people and groups on a US sanctions list.

BBC Russian said Lesin was considered, for a long time, “one of the most influential figures in the Russian media market and in the corridors of power”.

Late on Friday, Putin hailed “the enormous contribution made by Mikhail Lesin to the formation of modern Russian media”, according to Tass.