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Ex-Putin spy and oil tycoon found dead at his home near Moscow in latest mystery death in Russia | The Sun

A MAJOR Russian oligarch and oil tycoon has been found dead in the latest mystery surrounding Russia's elite.

The body of Vyacheslav Rovneiko, 59, who founded Russian energy giant Urals Energy with the son-in-law of Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin, was discovered at his house outside of Moscow at around 11pm Wednesday night.

Russian media has not given any cause of death so far.

A police report said that "no signs of a violent death were found on his body".

Rovneiko is believed to have worked for the KGB as a Cold War-era spy in Belgium alongside Sergei Naryshkin, who now heads the SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence agency.

The ultra-secretive millionaire oligarch made his fortune in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union by buying up former state-run companies for small amounts.


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Rovneiko founded Urals Energy in 2000 with Leonid Dyachenko, who at the time was married to Tatyana, daughter of Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

In 2005, the company was valued at £210m after its first day's trading on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Rovneiko had business ties to the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Cyprus, according to reports.

In 2006, he was reported to have held a Belgian passport.

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He also co-owned Belgian oil trading company Nafta, although in recent years, his fortunes had faded.

Rovneiko founded the flower company Rose Garden CJSC with his wife, but it was later declared bankrupt after failing to pay back a 50 million euro debt.

His son Nikolay, 40, studied at Kingston University in London and later worked as an investment banker in the City.

After working at Morgan Stanley, he later created the company 4RCap, which promotes biogas technologies in Russia.

Very little else is known about Rovneiko, with Russian business databases showing the ex-spy as a man with no face.

He was known to be highly secretive and lived with his wife Irina in a wealthy gated community close to the Rublevo-Uspenskoye Highway, which runs west out of Moscow to the town of Zvenigorod.

His is the latest in a series of mysterious deaths to take place in Russia in recent months.

Today, it was reported that a former mayor and member of Putin's United Russia party was found dead in custody.

Andrei Bralnin, an elected official in the town of Kotlas in Russia's Arkhangelsk region, was awaiting trial for allegedly taking bribes.

In February 2021, he resigned from his post, shortly before he was detained by FSB officers in Moscow.

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Russian media reports that doctors from the ambulance brigade tried to resuscitate Bralnin, but "they did not give a positive result".

The report added that no violent signs were found on his body, but said investigations were continuing.

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