WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) — Russian and U.S. authorities are investigating the sudden death of Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government and a high level adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was found dead at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5.
Russia Today, the government-backed media organization Lesin founded, reported he died of a heart attack and there were no indications of foul play, though an investigation was launched into his death anyway.
Metropolitan Police Department officers were called to the Dupont Circle Hotel about a dead Russian man, who was confirmed by the Russian Embassy to be Lesin, ABC News reported.
“The president has a high appreciation for Mikhail Lesin’s massive contribution to the creation of modern Russian mass media,” the Kremlin’s press service said.
Lesin is credited with consolidating and censoring Russian media, before “inspiring” the creation of Russia Today — now known as RT — in the hope it “acquaints an international audience with the Russian viewpoint.”
It’s not clear why the multimillionaire media tycoon was in Washington, however an increase in his American and European holdings in recent years, which include homes valued in the tens of millions of dollars and other assets, caused Congress to nearly launch an investigation into Lesin for money laundering and corruption.