Gazprom affiliate’s boss found shot dead

Reportedly, Voronov’s wife told investigators that her husband believed he had been swindled out of “a lot of money” by “dishonourable” contractors and partners. Photo: Twitter/@visegrad24

Yurii Voronov, CEO of Astra-Shipping subcontractor of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, has been found dead in a pool in a luxurious residential compound in a St Petersburg suburb, Daily Mail reported.

The 61-year-old multi-millionaire body was found around 2 pm Monday local time floating in a pool with a point-blank shot wound to the head. A Grand Power pistol littered the floor nearby. Several spent cartridges were found at the bottom of the pool, the Daily Mail reported.

Voronov has become the sixth Russian tycoon related to Gazprom who died in mysterious circumstances since Russia brought war to Ukraine. Among the fatal six Alexander Tyulakov, 61, and Leonid Shulman, 60, were two other Gazprom-affiliated businessmen. They too were found dead in the same neighbourhood, Tyulakov hanged in February and Shulman stabbed.

The Russian Investigative Committee has already dispatched investigators to reveal more evidence about Voronov's death. Currently, they put the murder in terms of a “dispute with business partners”.

Reportedly, Voronov’s wife told investigators that her husband believed he had been swindled out of “a lot of money” by “dishonourable” contractors and partners.

Rumours have mushroomed as to a non-suicidal nature of the season of dying Russian tycoons, despite the fact that some were staged to look like suicides. Tyulakov’s case is likely an example of a fabricated suicide by hanging, as claimed by local reporters who said his body showed signs of a beating. Investigators continued to claim that he had actually killed himself.

Shulman, the head of transport at Gazprom Invest, was found stabbed to death in his bathroom three weeks earlier and in the same housing development.

For his part, billionaire and former senior executive at energy giant Lukoil Alexander Subbotin, aged 43, was also found dead in May after “taking advice from shamans”. The advice was apparently misunderstood as, according to one theory, he was poisoned, unintentionally by himself or someone else, with toad venom that triggered a heart attack.

April brought about the death of wealthy Vladislav Avayev, a former Kremlin official, who seemingly took his own life after killing his wife Yelena, 47, and daughter, 13. The man enjoyed high-level links to the leading Russian financial institution Gazprombank. Reports emerged suggesting that he might have committed the crime filled with jealousy after his wife admitted she was pregnant by their driver but the validity of this story has also been questioned as a counter-narrative surfaced insinuating he had access to the financial secrets of the Kremlin elite.

Only several days later former deputy Chairman of Novatek multimillionaire Sergey Protosenya was found hanged in Spain, after evidently killing with an axe his wife Natalia, 53, and their teenage daughter, Maria, Daily Mail wrote. Novatek is closely linked to the Kremlin.

Daily Mail suggested that the case of Protosenya, as with Avayev, has been an assassination made to appear a murder-and-suicide.

“Last week a mobile phone multi-millionaire and his wife were found stabbed to death in another case that has raised questions. Naked Yevgeny Palant, 47, and his wife Olga, 50, both Ukrainian-born, were found with multiple knife wounds by their daughter Polina, 20. Immediate briefing to the media claimed the woman took her own life in a jealous rage after Palant said he was leaving her. Yet this was strongly disputed by the couple's best friend,” Daily Mail wrote.