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Former Russian Aide Found Dead in Washington Hotel Room

  • VOA Staff

FILE - Mikhail Lesin served as Russian press minister from 1999 to 2004 and presidential media adviser from 2004 to 2009.

FILE - Mikhail Lesin served as Russian press minister from 1999 to 2004 and presidential media adviser from 2004 to 2009.

A former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been found dead in a hotel room in Washington, D.C.

The Russian embassy in Washington confirmed Friday that the man was 57-year-old Mikhail Lesin, who had previously served as Russian press minister from 1999 to 2004 and presidential media adviser from 2004 to 2009.

The media agency he is credited with founding, Russia Today, reported his cause of death as a heart attack. Russia Today is an English-language news service backed by the Russian government.

ABC News reported he served as a senior executive at Russia's largest media holding company, Gazprom-Media, from 2013 to 2014.

Dupont Circle neighborhood

Washington police said they were investigating a death in a hotel room in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood, but could not confirm the identity of the deceased.

ABC News reported that U.S. Senator Robin Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, had called last year for a probe of Lesin on suspicion of money laundering and corruption.

In a letter to the U.S. attorney general, Wicker accused Lesin of acquiring "multimillion-dollar assets" in Europe and the United States while serving as a Russian government minister.

Wicker said the assets included $28 million worth of real estate in Los Angeles.

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