It’s being called an outbreak of “Epstein syndrome,” in reference to the death of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in August 2019.
While the medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide, numerous lawyers have publicly disputed the ruling and there is significant public skepticism about the true cause of death.
In Russia, the first generation of so-called “oligarchs” emerged from the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. This group of men is known to be extremely wealthy with political connections to Putin’s inner circle.
Newsweek has published a list of “every Russian oligarch who has died since Putin invaded Ukraine.” The list includes Sergey Protosenya, Vladislav Avaev, Vasily Melnikov, Mikhail Watford, Alexander Tyulyakov, and Leonid Shulman.
Making matters even more alarming, the family members of Russian oligarchs have also been found dead inside their luxurious homes in Russia and Spain.
Two cases were discovered within 24 hours of each other.
Police reportedly believe the cases are murder-suicide.
“Evidence supporting these theories is muddled by the fact that the events happened so close together, with the two oligarchs the last of several who have been found to have died by suicide since the beginning of the year,” Newsweek reports.
List of Russian oligarchs who have been found dead in mysterious circumstance since Jan, per Newsweek
— Alex Raufoglu (@ralakbar) April 22, 2022
Here’s a look into the background of some of the men via Newsweek:
The body of Sergey Protosenya, former top manager of Russia’s energy giant Novatek, was found together with those of his wife and daughter on Tuesday in a rented villa in Spain, where the family was reportedly on holiday for Easter.
The 55-year-old millionaire was found hanged in the garden of the villa in Lloret de Mar by Catalonian police, Spanish media reported, while his wife and daughter were found in their beds with stab wounds on their bodies.
In #Moscow, former vice-president of "Gazprombank" Vladislav Avaev shot dead his wife and 13-year-old daughter, after which he committed suicide.
Previously, Avaev worked in the Office of the President and in the State Duma. pic.twitter.com/LUu3fSMszD
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 18, 2022
Just a day before the body of Protosenya was found in Spain, on April 18, former vice-president of Gazprombank Vladislav Avaev was found dead in his multi-million apartment on Universitetsky Prospekt in Moscow, together with his wife and daughter.
The bodies were reportedly discovered by a relative of the Avaevs after being unable to get in contact with the family for several days…
On March 24, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported the death of billionaire Vasily Melnikov in his luxury apartment in Nizhny Novgorod, the sixth-largest city in the country.
According to police investigations mentioned by Kommersant, Melnikov—who reportedly worked for the medical firm MedStom—was found dead in the apartment together with his wife Galina and two sons. They had all died from stab wounds and the knives used for the murders were found at the crime scene…
Ukrainian-born Russian tycoon Mikhail Watford was found dead in his home in Surrey in the U.K. on February 28. Watford—who had changed his name from the original Tolstosheya—was born in 1955 in then-Soviet Ukraine and had made a name for himself after becoming an oil and gas magnate.
Watford, 66, was found hanged in the garage of his home by a gardener, according to The Daily Mail. Surrey police said the circumstances around his death were not suspicious, as reported by the BBC.