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Putin Associate Found Dead in DC Hotel



Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government who’s been accused of curtailing the country’s press freedoms, had been staying at Hotel Dupont when he was found Thursday, according to officials.
It’s unclear why the long-time adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Washington, but the Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating his death. On Thursday, U.S. authorities notified the Russian embassy in Washington that one of its citizens had died, and Russian officials are now working with American authorities to determine the circumstances of the death, the embassy told ABC News in a statement.
Citing an ongoing investigation, an MPD spokesman would only confirm the department is conducting a “death investigation.“
Lesin is credited with creating Russia Today, the English-language news network backed by the Russian government. Now known as RT, the network “provides an alternative perspective on major global events, and acquaints an international audience with the Russian viewpoint,” according to its website.
Lesin “led the Kremlin’s efforts to censor Russia’s independent television outlets,” one U.S. lawmaker charged last year.
In fact, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into Lesin over allegations of corruption and money laundering.
In a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Wicker said Lesin had “acquired multi-million dollar assets” in Europe and the United States “during his tenure as a civil servant,” including multiple residences in Los Angeles worth $28 million.
“That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets in Europe and the United States raises serious questions,” Wicker wrote.
It’s unclear if the FBI ever begun a probe.

From 1999 to 2004, Lesin served as Russia’s Minister of Press, Television and Radio, often traveling with Putin on official trips. In 2013, he became head of Gazprom-Media Holding, the state-controlled media giant that describes itself as one of the largest media groups in Russia and Europe. Lesin resigned the next year, reportedly citing family reasons.

Russian Businessman Detained for $46Bln Money Laundering Scheme


Russian businessman Alexander Grigoryev has been detained amid suspicions of heading a scheme involving dozens of banks and hundreds of people to channel $46 billion out of Russia, the Kommersant business daily reported Tuesday.
Grigoryev — the co-owner of several banks, including the failed Zapadny and Doninvest banks — was detained Friday in a central Moscow restaurant where he was dining with his girlfriend, the report said.
The 44-year-old entrepreneur was denied bail and is being held in detention on two counts of fraud involving a sum of 105 million rubles ($1.6 million), Kommersant reported.
Investigators also suspect Grigoryev, who was at one time vice president of the Moscow Boxing Federation, of leading one of Russia's largest organized crime groups, involving around 60 banks and more than 500 people, the report said.
In the past four years, the ring could have sluiced more than $46 billion abroad through the banks — some of which are partly state owned and some of which were declared bankrupt after Grigoryev became co-owner, the report said.
Some of the failed banks still owe their clients up to 44 billion rubles, the report said.

Grigoryev has denied his guilt, Kommersant reported.